Front Page Titles (by Subject) Part II.: Retention of Possession of the Said Prize Is Beneficial - Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty
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Part II.: Retention of Possession of the Said Prize Is Beneficial - Hugo Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty 
Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, ed. and with an Introduction by Martine Julia van Ittersum (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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The Liberty Fund edition of De Jure Praedae reproduces her translation, which first appeared as part of the Classics of International Law series. In addition to Williams’s translation, we reissue appendix A of the Carnegie edition, along with the superb author and subject indexes by Walter H. Zeydel. With two exceptions we have left unchanged the editorial conventions that govern Williams’s translation of De Jure Praedae. These editorial conventions are explained in full in the Translator’s Note to the Carnegie edition1 but may be summarized as follows.
The manuscript’s folio numbers appear at the end of the relevant text line, which is a change from the Carnegie edition, where they appear in the margin. The position of the folio numbers in the text approximates that of the folios in the manuscript. They should not be considered the equivalent of modern page breaks, however. Williams was frequently obliged to reverse the Latin word order of the manuscript in order to produce a flowing English translation. A comparison with the collotype reproduction of the manuscript reveals that, in a few instances, she either forgot to include the manuscript’s folio divisions or made a mistake in doing so.2 Although Williams did make some mistakes, the sometimes erratic numbering also reflects the fact that Grotius revised the theoretical chapters numerous times.
Footnotes identified by arabic numerals have a threefold function in Williams’s translation: (1) to indicate gaps in the manuscript that may cause doubt regarding the original text, (2) to clear up questions that may arise from Grotius’s own correction of the manuscript, and (3) to comment on Grotius’s use of sources. Since Grotius’s quotations often are loose paraphrases of the originals, Williams translated these quotations on the basis of the manuscript text, not the text quoted. Any unavoidable departure from this rule is marked with a numbered footnote. If Grotius’s deviation from his source was “too striking to pass without comment,” Williams inserted a numbered footnote there as well.3 Page numbers listed in the footnotes of the Carnegie edition have been replaced with page numbers from the Liberty Fund edition. Oddly enough, Williams referred to the page numbers, instead of the folio numbers, of the collotype reproduction of the manuscript, which she consulted for her translation. This has been left unchanged.
Retention of Possession of the Said Prize Is Beneficial
Turning to the next and final phase of our discussion, let us consider the matter from the standpoint of benefit. Undoubtedly our inquiries on this subject will seem superfluous to many persons who measure benefit in terms of material gain and who will therefore assume that no one can fail to realize how beneficial it is to acquire spoil, the source of such considerable additions to private property.
Part I of Chapter XVFor my own part, however, having embraced the belief that true benefits can never be disjoined from the concepts of honour and justice,a so that I should regard the vaunting of benefits unattended by these two attributes as the mark of a thoroughly corrupt person, I propose to establish the existence of beneficial elements in the present case, wherein the said attributes are not lacking, precisely on the basis of its just and honourable character.
Thesis IFor the just man (as we have already indicated in another context)b benefits himself before all else. Thus Plato,c too, in his eulogy of justice, holds that not only glory or εὐδοξία [fair fame], but also pleasure or benefit, should be reckoned [among its effects].Thesis II Similarly, in regard to that which is honourable, whether we find that a certain perverse system of reasoning (a system undoubtedly calamitous for mankind) has violently isolated this concept which is essentially bound up with the concept[152′] of what is beneficial, or whether it is acknowledged that the attribute of honour forms an especially conspicuous and preponderant element of all things termed beneficial, assuredly everyone desirous of a reputation for virtue will readily agree that nothing base is truly advantageous, whereas nothing honourable can fail to be expedient by virtue of the very fact that it is honourable. A great many observations in support of this sentiment were made by Cicero in his treatise On Duties.d In another work by that same author,e the following argument is presented: “Whatever is just, is beneficial; and whatever is honourable, is also just; whence it follows that whatever is honourable is also beneficial.”1 Certainly no one will be able to refute this contention; for even the Epicureans, those foremost champions of personal convenience, declare that,a οὐκ εἰ̑ναι ἔδἑως ζη̑ν ἄνευ του̑ καλω̑ς καὶ δικαίως ζη̑ν; “it is not possible to live pleasantly unless one lives both honourably and justly.” Moreover, those benefits which are of a common and public characterb and to which the juristsc for the most part refer, reveal a particularly close relationship with the concept of what is honourable.
In the first place, then, since every just acquisition is beneficial and should be classified with the things described even by the strictest philosophers as προηγμἑνα, or “preferable,” on the ground that riches facilitate the accomplishment of many ends, spoils come under this same head and are in nowise to be spurned, provided that they are just and honourable.
In fact, we have already pointed oute that God reckons this particular benefit as one of the blessings which He confers upon the pious.
Thus spoils are beneficial primarily because the individuals honourably enriched thereby are able to benefit many other persons, and because it is to the interest of the state that there should be a large number of wealthy citizens. Furthermore, inasmuch as a part of the prize in question has fallen to the state at no expense to the latter, a very great and special benefit is involved here, in view of the difficulties confronting the public treasury, which is exhausted in consequence of such an arduous war. Over a period of many years, the Romans were compelled to pay tribute in order to meet the needs incessantly arising from various wars, a burden which was tolerated as unavoidable, despite the fact that it was rendered onerous by the very duration of the necessity. After the conquest of Macedonia, however, the sum paid into the public treasury out of the spoils was so great as to exempt the citizens from the obligation of payment, nor were they called upon in later years for any contribution. Thus the wars that followed were conducted at the expense of the conquered peoples. I myself shall not attempt to estimate in advance the [financial] outcome for which the Dutch may hope in the future; but everyone will admit that the treasury benefits when aid is derived to the greatest possible extent from the resources of the enemy rather than from those of the citizens.
Thesis IIIThe philosophers,a in their discussion of that which is beneficial, lay stress upon the admirable doctrine that one must take into account, in this connexion, the institutions, customs, and peculiar needs of each individual state.
It is certain that in all lands the management of shipping falls within the sphere of supreme governmental power,b so that persons who have gone abroad for the purpose of bringing back supplies of grain and various necessities are regarded as absent practically on state business.c More specifically, who is so ignorant of the affairs of the Dutch as to be unaware of the fact that the sole source of support, renown, and protection for those affairs lies in navigation and trade? Among all of the Dutch enterprises in the field of trade, moreover, our business in the East Indies easily occupies first place in worth, extent, and resultant benefits.
For when the savagery of the Spaniards had interrupted our commercial activities [in other regions], God Himself by His special favour opened up that part of the world to the Dutch, whose commerce was then on the verge of ruin. It is possible, indeed, that Divine Beneficence was also making provision for the welfare of the East Indians, by willing that they should be encouraged (through the example set by the Dutch) to defy the fearful fame of the Spaniards, and at the same time given an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the true and unperverted faith. In any case, [it cannot be denied]2 that Providence intervened at an opportune moment in behalf of the Dutch, pointing out the regions where one might seek the very articles already long sought at far higher prices amid perils graver by land than by sea, which the ferocity of the foe would not willingly relinquish even in these new circumstances. For is it not strange and well-nigh incredible that, during ten years of voyaging to and from the Orient, in the face of uncertain and tempestuous weather, over unknown tracts of sea, to unknown ports, with Portuguese snares scattered about in every locality, it never once happened that any fleet returned entirely unladen? No doubt the purpose of this divine intervention was to prevent the consequences that must otherwise be feared, namely: dejection of spirit, and the crushing defeat of an exceedingly salutary enterprise at the very outset, the most difficult stage of any great undertaking.
Accordingly, it is my belief that the members of our States Assembly, the “Fathers of the Fatherland,” were guided not merely by human wisdom, but also by what might be called a form of divine favour, when they turned their sagacious attention to this matter and ordered that the various East India companies existing under their jurisdiction (as separate and therefore mutually injurious and destructive entities) should be consolidated into a single body subject to fixed laws. The many privileges thereafter granted to the new Company by the States Assembly constituted more than sufficient testimony to the Assembly’s opinion of the great public significance of this coalition. Moreover, when the task of unification had finally been accomplished (for it entailed no inconsiderable amount of trouble), there was no one who doubted that the surest possible foundations of public prosperity had been laid.
As a result of this measure, the East Indians viewed with respect the Dutch enterprises so firmly founded upon a basis of concord;[153′] the Portuguese were thrown into a state of trepidation; and other European nations were so favourably impressed by the good faith and foresight of the Dutch that they chose to entrust their funds to a Company already established and administered in an orderly fashion, in preference to risking the perils of the sea on their own account. In this way, the business organized less than ten years previously with a fund of less than 300,000 florins, had increased its capital at the time of which we are speaking to more than 7,000,000 florins. Furthermore, the rejoicings and general expressions of delight were so lavish as to reveal an assured and prophetic hopefulness that foresaw a vast yearly increase in pro-fits; and, in the light of the evidence already furnished by experience, that confidence was by no means unjustified.
Nevertheless, results of far greater importance remain to be achieved. Only a small number of the East Indian ports have been visited as yet. On every side inviting shores await us: here, the lands bordering upon the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal; and yonder, the shores of China, so rich in new opportunities for profit that, when cargoes of merchandise are conveyed there one after another in rapid succession and distributed to the most remote regions, the prices placed on the earliest cargoes can still be maintained.
We know from what depths of poverty the Spaniards and Portuguese have risen, and to what wealth! In fact, during the earlier history of those peoples, before the days of their voyages across the seas, their rulers could scarcely scrape together enough money to fit out the first vessels; and even to-day, their custom of reckoning currency in terms of tiny copper units persists as a token of former indigence. Nowadays, however, we see that those same peoples, both at home and in their inordinately proud colonies scattered throughout the world, display in their dwellings, household furnishings, attire and retinues of servants, not merely splendour and elegance, but actual luxury, to such an extent that one may truthfully apply to them the comment made in regard to the ancient Tyrians,a namely, that their merchants are like princes. Indeed, when the prize from the Catharine was recently put up for sale, who did not marvel at the wealth revealed? Who was not struck with amazement? Who did not feel that the auction in progress was practically a sale of royal property, rather than of a fortune privately owned?
Let the Dutch learn, even from their enemies, just methods of enriching themselves; and let them learn the proper use of riches from their own ancestors, who were honourably frugal men. Now, the finest fruits of wealth are to be found in the benefits derived from it by the community; and these benefits consist primarily in greater revenue from tributes and imposts. For even though the profitable outcome of voyages abroad emboldened the King of Spain to spread terror throughout the whole world, the success that encouraged a spirit of despotism in so far as he was concerned will serve in the case of the Dutch more justly as a means of protecting life and liberty. Another aspect of the benefits to be received by the public lies in the fact that great numbers of the vast multitude comprising the common people are engaged in commerce or navigation and derive support from no other source. Thus it will come to pass, as Isaiah prophesied,a that all merchandise and all profit shall be consecrated to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up, but shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, that they may eat unto fullness and be clothed sufficiently.3
Is it desirable, then, that this commercial activity, which is so beneficial and so necessary, should be abandoned? I do not believe that there is anyone who favours the adoption of such a measure.
But that activity can be continued only if we drive away those persons who will not allow others to be secure in any locality where they themselves enjoy security, who by their words and deeds proclaim that they will not suffer any other European to approach the lands in question for purposes of trade (an attitude based, moreover, not upon some lawful right but merely upon unwillingness to forgo or share profits gained from any source whatsoever), and who leave no means untried for the acquisition of such profits, whether through treacherous guile or in open warfare. Indeed, what act for the sake of self-enrichment is incredible on the part of men who did not shrink from spreading calumny among the regional officials, or even from bribery, in an attempt to bring about the death of their own neighbours, the Castilians, subjects of the same King and practically compatriots of the calumniators themselves, not so very long after the arrival of the Castilians in China? These designs would have been successfully accomplished, too, but for the fact that among the Chinese (a people otherwise free from scruples, and justifiably hostile toward the Castilians at that time because it was reported that the Spaniards had slain ten thousand Chinese in the Philippines), the rights of suppliants and guests carried more weight than did the obligations of blood relationship among the Iberian peoples. Yet even this Portuguese treachery toward the Castilians should not cause excessive surprise, since everywhere the Portuguese, moved solely by considerations of personal profit and by jealousy, pursue to the death their own fellow countrymen when the latter are not members of the same trading company.4 Thus it is impossible to protect oneself from persons of the kind described without resorting to vengeful measures. As the Spanish theologian Victoria has rightly observed, even war undertaken solely for defensive purposes cannot be waged without the infliction of vengeance upon the foe. “For the enemy would be emboldened to make a second attack,” Victoria argues,a “if they were not deterred from injurious acts by the fear of punishment.” Therefore, just as public interests call for the maintenance of the East Indian trade, with precisely the same urgency they call for the imposition of restraints upon the Portuguese in whatsoever manner the occasion may permit, including the infliction of ills of every kind, the least of which will be loss of property.[154′]
Thesis IVAlthough the benefits listed above are of a domestic nature, there are others, no less important, whose effects are manifested in foreign lands, in the form of advantages for allies or disadvantages for enemies.
Throughout the whole universe, there is nothing—save for immortal God—more beneficial to man than man himself, so that the most beneficial of all achievements is the winning of human goodwill. Ciceroa treats of this point in numerous passages, where he follows Panaetius,b who devoted his entire discussion on the subject of expediency [i.e. that which is beneficial]5 to this same line of argument. Similarly, Aristotlec lists friends and friendships among those things which are most beneficial, saying that friendships are desirable both for their own sake and also because they are productive of many [beneficial] results, wherefore he holds that φιλεταιρία, “love of friends,” is nobler than φιλοχρηματία, “love of money.”
Thesis VOn the other hand, it also happens at times that man is exceedingly injurious to man, as is indicated in the well-known lines:
whence it follows, by the very nature of mutually opposed factors, that what is worst for our enemies is best for us, just as, by a reverse process of reasoning, we perceive that what is pleasing to our enemies is injurious to us. Such is the implication contained in the plea:d
Therefore, those authors who deal with the question of what is beneficial, quite correctly attribute outstanding importance to this particular benefit, [i.e. injury to enemies,] also.
To return to our first point, however, no one is ignorant of the great force inherent in friendship; and it is because of this force that alliances not only with neighbours but even with distant communities are beneficial for persons engaged in warfare, just as they are necessary for traders. Mithridates is commendeda because he sent envoys from the Albans all the way to Spain, to Sertorius and the generals against whom the Romans were warring at that time. For Mithridates knew the quality of the enemy with whom he had to deal: that is to say, he knew that the Romans were in possession of a large part of the world, and that they were a strong and wealthy nation. Consequently, he had arranged matters in such a way that this nation would be fighting for its supremacy while torn by a twofold struggle, in a war waged on land and sea in two entirely different and widely separated regions, against two [hostile] forces7 acting in concert within each region.
It is not my intention either to magnify or to belittle the strength of the Iberian peoples. This I do know: that they rule over a domain more extensive than that of the Romans in the days of Mithridates, and perhaps even more extensive than any domain of our own or any other age. Furthermore, I know that the very foundations of that Iberian power lie, not in the Low Countries nor in Spain, but in transoceanic regions from which the said peoples derive their wealth and the means to maintain their public largess and their wars. But I also know that they have gained for themselves in those distant lands as much hatred as power, and that the Dutch ought to make use of that hatred if they wish to see the war ended. The North must unite with the farthest Orient, in order that the despotism which has spread to every quarter of the world may be overthrown.
The Dutch should have sought the goodwill of the East Indian kings and peoples, long ago. But, lo and behold! the goodwill of the Dutch themselves is now voluntarily sought. For who among our chief officials has not been implored by the East Indians to lend succour and assistance against the Portuguese? What of the supplications made by the King of Ternate and by the state of Amboyna? What of the letters received from the King of Johore? Moreover, the nobles of Achin have even presented themselves in person at the palace of The Hague. Occurrences like the one regarded as an outstanding feature of the good fortune enjoyed by Augustusa (that is to say, the visit paid him by East Indian envoys, who came bearing precious gifts but boasting only of the length of their voyage, although the very colour of their skins showed plainly enough that they hailed from another clime), or like the event that shed special lustre on Claudius’ reignb (his reception of an embassy from Taprobane [Ceylon]),8 have become so ordinary among the Dutch that wonder has ceased with the cessation of novelty. And what is it that these envoys seek and entreat, other than attack against the Portuguese by a general combination of forces? So great is their confidence in our good faith, that they actually beg the Dutch to erect strongholds upon East Indian soil! They urge that the straits of Malacca and Sunda should be kept [under the control of the Dutch]. Some of them offer supplies9 to aid us in blockading Malacca, the very seat of slavery, and point out the ways by which this undertaking may be accomplished.
Another and more significant feature of the situation is the fact that friendship with the Dutch acts as a conciliatory force among the East Indians themselves. Already, treaties are being concluded between Sumatra and the island of Ceylon,10 while the Kings of Kandy and Achin swear common enmity against the Portuguese. For the sake of the Hollanders, that same King of Achin is renouncing his ancient grudge against the ruler of Johore, and all rivalry between the two sovereigns is confined to one point alone, namely: which of them shall excel in the eyes of the Dutch. Many other kings, too, would have joined our cause openly long ago, if the Dutch had not seemed somewhat slack in their attitude toward the war against the Portuguese.
What, then, is the conclusion to be drawn? Should this favourable disposition be disdained? Quite aside from the fact that such indifference would be contrary to the public interest, it has been morally impossible to adopt an indifferent attitude, from the time when the Portuguese first besieged the cities of the East Indians, laid waste their fields and set aflame their rural districts, in retaliation for the friendship between[155′] the natives and the Dutch. For if it is in every sense expedient that alliances of this kind should be not merely encouraged to persist but also stimulated and expanded (and certainly there is no other alternative to the destruction of our trade itself), what pledge, what bond of good faith shall we offer to the foreign nations whose alliance we seek? Surely we must offer the sole pledge that they covet: intrepid attacks against the Portuguese (whose enemies the Dutch avow themselves to be) and treatment of the Portuguese as enemies. For even as it is just and honourable to take vengeance upon that people in accordance with their deserts, so also it is perilous to spare them; and the peril is particularly grave wherever the suspicious disposition of the East Indians must be taken into account.
I shall describe a recent episode in support of this assertion. The King of Kandy (a country which is situated on the island of Ceylon) evinced so great an interest in the affairs of the Dutch at the time of Spilberg’s arrival from Zeeland, that for whole days this ruler devoted all of his inquiries exclusively to the history of our famous war,
Nor was he ever wearied of contemplating the likeness of Maurice, most invincible of princes, and the painting of the Battle of Nieuwpoort. Already the King himself, the Queen, and their children, had begun to learn words from our language in order that the Kingdom of Kandy might be said to have become a part of Holland. The King also declared that he wished to send his eldest child (when the latter should have reached maturity) to Prince Maurice, so that the youth might be instructed in military matters under so great a general. The same ruler entreated the Dutch to select a site wherever they pleased within his domain for the construction of a fortress, adding that he himself, aided by his wife and son and daughter, would carry the stones to that spot rather than abandon a project so dear to his own heart. Shortly afterwards, he received a visit from Sibold de Waert (second in command of the fleet that was under Wijbrandt Warwijck), and begged de Waert to grant him aid in storming the fortress of Colombo, located on the border of his kingdom and held at that time by the Portuguese. The King earnestly requested that he himself might make the assault, but asked de Waert to stand by with the ships, warding off the forces expected from Goa for the relief of the Portuguese. He offered various rewards for such assistance, and in this connexion expressed his willingness to entrust to a Dutch garrison the sites that were to be taken from the enemy. As it happened, Sibold set out from Ceylon for Achin with the purpose of acquiring allies, and captured four Portuguese vessels in the course of that same voyage. Now, the King had entreated Sibold in person, and had implored him by letter after the Dutchman’s departure, in the name of God, by the valour of Prince Maurice, and for the sake of their own friendship, to deliver any Portuguese whom he might seize into the hands of the ruler of Kandy himself. De Waert, however, apparently expecting no difficulty in excusing himself for his clemency, straightway freed his captives; while the King, never doubting that they would be handed over to him by de Waert, went all the way to Batticaloa (where the Dutch ships had by then arrived), as an act of courtesy, although he had promised only to come as far as the city of Vintanum to meet the Dutch commander. At Batticaloa, a deplorable event occurred, as follows: the King, amazed that men who had been captured after culpable conduct should enjoy immunity while his own request was held in contempt, ordered the execution of Sibold (who was answering him in an argumentative and rather insolent manner) together with approximately fifty other persons. In this fashion he avenged himself for the very fact that he had been left unavenged.
Moreover, that same leniency (if leniency is indeed the proper term) has given rise to mockery on the part of our enemies, suspicion on the part of our allies, and grave injury to our own people. Consequently, if the East Indian nations, which wage war more ferociously than the Europeans, can hardly be brought to accept the excuse that it is our custom to preserve our enemies even when we are able to destroy them, and if the said nations are now about to see the Portuguese ships (certainly a prize that is ready and waiting to be taken) allowed to slip from the hands of the Dutch, what can they be expected to believe, save that treachery is secretly at work, and that the Portuguese and the Dutch are working in collusion? It is necessary, therefore, to extend to them this guaranty of good faith, and to give them this cause of rejoicing in return for their friendship, this solace in compensation for the disasters suffered, namely: an opportunity for them to see the despoliation of those men who have been the despoilers of the whole world.
Let us consider next the benefits that we ourselves derive from the ills that befall our enemies.
In the Portuguese, the Dutch have just such a foe as Tacitusa describes in another connexion: one who is timorous when confronted by adverse circumstances, but mindful of neither divine nor human law when circumstances are propitious. Accordingly, a supremely important benefit lies in the fact that henceforth the Portuguese will tremble at the approach of the Dutch, and shaken by their earlier loss will flee from the very sight of our valiant men, nor will they dare to match their own ships, despite the considerable superiority of the latter in number and size, against the ships of the Hollanders. For the enemy will know that these are the vessels by means of which they have so often been despoiled. Consequently, since they will be afraid to approach any spot where the Dutch ships are anchored, the Dutch themselves will be not only more safe from actual danger, but also more free from anxiety. As a[156′] matter of fact, this result has already been achieved in a partial degree; for the East Indian kings declare that the Portuguese tremble and grow exceedingly pale at the sight and even at the mere mention of a Dutchman. Again, what shall we infer from the fact that the Portuguese obeyed the order to transfer the cargo of the captured ships to the Dutch ships with their own hands? Or from the further fact that already some persons have paid the Dutch for the privilege of navigating in safety? Similarly, when our enemies realize how easy it is for the Hollanders to acquire a vast horde of captives, they will be more hesitant in venting their rage upon the captives whom they in turn may have chanced to seize; and fear of retaliation will compel them to adopt the very course of conduct that they refused to follow when encouraged by kindly deeds to do so.
Moreover, in future, either they will provide us perforce with similar spoils, an alternative which obviously would result in tremendous benefits both for our state and for our private citizens, or else they will be obliged to turn from their attacks upon others to defence of themselves, keeping innumerable ships for their own protection in East Indian waters, strengthening their colonies with fortifications, and (most troublesome task of all!) maintaining a suspicious vigil over all things at one and the same time. The numerous and heavy expenses thus to be incurred will drain away not only all the private profits of the Portuguese, but also the whole of the East Indian revenue accruing to their state itself, that unwavering enemy of Dutch liberty. One can readily perceive how extremely profitable both of these consequences will be for our own state. For everyone knows that money constitutes the sinews of war and that, just as it is of the greatest importance [in war] to supply oneself with money, so the precaution of next greatest importance is to prevent the foe from being supplied with it. Accordingly, if all the produce and revenue from Philip’s East Indian possessions can be encumbered with a burden of expense equal to that already laid upon certain European possessions of his, it must surely follow that the future management of the war will prove much easier for us. For no one can doubt that the aid received from Spain through Italian transactions is the chief means of prolonging that war, inasmuch as the Dutch would long since have brought the affair to a conclusion if their resources had been matched solely against the revenue derived from another part of the Low Countries. If, then, the Spanish revenues fail—and with them, the credit necessary in order to procure additional funds—what outcome is to be expected other than a military insurrection leading to a great revolution?
For it is clear to those who read the history of the events in question, that practically everything which has hitherto brought good fortune and prosperity to the Dutch, has had its cause and origin in the enemy’s need. The Peace of Ghent, and the union of almost the whole of the Low Countries against the name of Spain, restored our all but shattered fortunes to a state of complete well-being through the civil discord which arose among our opponents and which was the result, moreover, of the depleted condition of their treasury. What is the explanation of the fact that the Dutch, after being held in subjection for so long by the Duke of Parma, have nevertheless been victorious in their turn throughout an equal period of years under the valiant command of a magnificent leader, unless that explanation lies in the strain placed upon enemy resources (a strain so severe that their restoration has scarcely yet become possible) by the great fleet sent against Britain11 and the crushing expenses of the war with France? It was this depletion of resources that gave rise to the frequent disturbances along the French borders, to the Italian insurrection at Sichem and to mutual slaughter among our enemies; from this starting-point sprang the defection of Saint-André, the series of fresh disturbances that left Flanders open to attack, and the opportunity to wage a famous battle;12 this was the incentive for the rebellion of Hoogstraeten, during which the fields of the Dutch were laid waste by their own orders.
As for present events, precisely because our opponents are beginning to entertain greater hopes and are seeking even to grasp possession of those seas to which the Dutch have a special right, we should strive all the more zealously to ensure their failure in the very midst of that attempt by heaping additional expenses upon those which they have already incurred. In this connexion, it is of the utmost importance that we cause as much trouble as possible for the Iberian peoples throughout the East Indies, so that they may be thrown into confusion again and again by new defeats and losses. Such a course of action is particularly advisable in view of the fact that the expenditures which it will involve for our own side, will lay no burden upon our state but will be met instead by private citizens. Besides, who knows but that success in the East Indies might presently give us confidence to undertake some bold enterprise in the American sphere? And in such an event, surely we could regard that [Iberian] domain [in the New World], built upon the spoils of all nations, as a legitimate object of despoliation by any nation!
Thesis VINow, if it is true (as the authorities on these matters maintain)a that ease of execution is a point to be borne in mind when one is estimating the benefits attached to a given project, then let the foe fit out fleets as costly as he may please, till the din of prodigious preparations resounds on all sides! If the Dutch are not entirely mistaken about that foe and about themselves, there is no danger, just as truly as no danger to the Romans was to be found in the army of King Antiochus, which (as we know) was wittily ridiculed by Hannibal. For when the King boastfully pointed out to Hannibal the vast numbers of armed men glittering with gold and silver insignia, the chariots equipped with scythes, the canopied elephants, the cavalry with its brightly shining reins, caparisons,[157′] collars and other trappings, and when he inquired whether or not the Carthaginian thought that all these things would be enough for the Romans, Hannibal (whose attention was fixed exclusively upon the weakness of the unwarlike men) declared that the things in question would indeed suffice for the Romans even if the latter were assumed to be the greediest of peoples, thus phrasing his reply as if he had been asked about spoils lying ready for seizure when in reality he had been questioned about comparative strength. We shall borrow the thought expressed by the Carthaginian general, with certain changes in wording, as follows: whatever may be the exact nature of the preparations that the Portuguese are making throughout India—preparations magnificent to behold and costly in price—these will be enough for the Dutch, even if the latter, after suffering tremendous losses, are assumed to be not unjustly desirous of proportionate compensation. As Antisthenesa neatly observed, long ago: ὅ τι δει̑ τοι̑ς πολεμίοις εὔχεσθαι τ’ ἀγαθὰ παρει̑ναι χωρὶς ἀνδρείας· γίνεται οὕτως οὐ τω̑ν ἐχόντων, ἀλλὰ τω̑ν κρατούντων; “We ought to wish that our enemies may have goods and no valour; for in such circumstances the goods become the property, not of the persons who have them [at the moment], but of those who [later] win them.” Surely no one will disagree with this opinion, after judicious consideration.
In proportion as the Dutch vessels are smaller, so also they are more agile, being easily moved to meet every martial or maritime emergency and so constructed that the missiles discharged from hostile vessels fly over them harmlessly. The massive, slow-moving hulks belonging to the Portuguese, fashioned not for war but for carrying cargo, open on all sides to the enemy’s fire, inadequate for strife against the winds, are in general fitted to be conquered rather than to conquer. The Dutch people—reared amid their own waters beneath a frosty, wind-swept sky, under the light of northern stars, and in an amazing number of cases accustomed even from childhood to spending more time upon the ocean than on land—are just as familiar with the sea as they are with the soil. They endure cold extremely well; they display the utmost patience in going without food; they are thoroughly accustomed to the hardships necessarily attendant upon extended journeys such as [the voyages to the Indies], and they have profited by the long-drawn war at home, both in boldness and in martial skill. But the weak bodies of the Portuguese, bodies enervated by warmth and accustomed to luxury, are not strong enough to endure sea-sickness or the tossing of the waves. Furthermore, the Portuguese are essentially effeminate. They are wasted with debauchery, unskilled in the use of arms, and burdened in the midst of their voyages by throngs of ailing persons who hinder the activities even of the men in good health. In short, they are unfit for war and may be described (in the well-known phrase) as “spoil for the Mysians.”13
We find that the Dutch sailors have in consequence acquired so much self-confidence as to reject the possibility that in the event of a struggle, at any time whatsoever, they themselves might be too few or the Portuguese sufficiently numerous. On many occasions, generals of exceptional sagacity, basing their opinion on the faces and bearing of their men, and observing the eagerness of the latter prior to battle, have declared that beyond any doubt victory was already theirs. In the judgement of those generals, such evidence was the best of omens and by far the surest means of prognostication. Thus the Dutch, too, should augur for themselves no slight success when they observe the courageous spirit of their men. For it is neither through recklessness nor without very good cause that these Dutchmen place confidence in their own valour and good fortune, since they have at hand the most incontrovertible proofs on this point, and pledges (so to speak) of victory.
Over a very long period of time, [to mention one proof of Spanish and Portuguese weakness,] the Frencha succeeded in disturbing [Spanish] commerce with America to such an extent that there were few Spaniards of rank who had not fallen into French hands at one time or another; and on some of these occasions, so much spoil was taken by the victors that even every cabin-boy brought back eight hundred ducats. The French were also successful in despoiling all the islands of the New World and the American Continent itself. On the other hand, when the Spaniards in a single instance captured a French vessel—not by Spanish valour but through the timidity of the opposing commander—the event seemed to them so unusual that they celebrated the triumph in a manner suggesting that France herself rather than a French ship had been completely conquered. This situation was the result, however, not of any great superiority in maritime skill on the part of the French, but of that avarice which had induced the Spaniards to load their ships with merchandise and passengers rather than with arms of any kind. The English, too, after circumnavigating the entire globe, have left practically no part of the Spanish dominions intact. No one ever succeeded to any possession with greater impunity [than that enjoyed by the English in this matter].
What, then, may not be hoped for in regard to the Dutch, those true sons of the sea? Without wishing to make invidious comparisons, we may say that the Dutch have never been hard pressed on any field of battle where the conditions were equal, nor in any open naval combat. I shall not illustrate my point by turning to the earlier pages of our history, although glorious examples could be drawn from the records of our conflicts with the French, the Germans, and the English. Let us concentrate all our attention upon the Iberian foe—who has enjoyed some support, moreover, from the Low Countries—and let us briefly review the period extending from the very beginning of the war to the present joyful moment.
We behold the chains of the captive Bossu; the Portuguese wealth that had been seized even at that early date by the people of Zeeland; the Duke of Medinaceli fleeing in a skiff, and de Hont, dripping with Spanish blood. Furthermore, is it possible that there will ever be a more imposing fleet than the one sent forth against Britain and against the Dutch in that terrible year [of 1588]? And are not the East Indian seas much narrower in their straits and much more uncertain in their shallows than even this Gallic sea [i.e. the English Channel]? For the former are said to contain, in addition to their numerous shoals and sand-banks seventy thousand islands, against which the heavier enemy vessels will certainly be dashed. Have we forgotten the fleet near Cάdiz, which was driven upon the shore and given to the flames by the Dutch and English forces? Or the ships of Spínola, so fatal to their master? Again, what braver or more illustrious leader will be granted to the enemy than Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza? Yet he was vanquished near Bantam and put to flight, although no contest could be more unequal than the one between those six comparatively small ships [on the Dutch side] and the opposing vessels, more than thirty in number, which were so[158′] large and so powerful. Since the date of Hurtado’s defeat, how many Portuguese vessels have been captured, sunk, or burned? Leaving aside all the rest, let us speak only of the largest ships. In addition to the one shared as prize between Spilberg and the English, three caracks have already fallen into our hands; and these caracks, while I call them ships, might well be regarded as fortresses, or even as towns, peopled by more than seven hundred men. One of the three, taken by Cornelis Sebastiaansz near the island of Saint Helena, fell to the lot of the Zeelanders. Another is the very ship brought in by Heemskerck. Now a third carack has been captured and despoiled near Macao by the ships of Warwijck. But certain events that were even much more notable have occurred, namely: the conquest of an entire fleet; the liberation of Johore, and the release of a very friendly king from a state of siege. For Jacob Pietersz—who was taking two vessels from the above-mentioned fleet of Warwijck together with a cutter, to Patani, in the hope of enhancing the great goodwill already felt toward the Dutch by the Queen of that region—perceived in the course of this same voyage that a river belonging to the Kingdom of Johore was held by the Portuguese. The latter, with two galleons in addition to more than twenty-five brigantines and other ships of war, had filled the whole vicinity with deadly terror. Pietersz, who felt that it would not be at all right to desert an allied prince threatened by such danger, engaged in a battle that continued until late in the day, when the enemy was routed and took to the high seas. It would be a long story if we were to tell how the king himself, coming in person to the victorious ships in order to express his gratitude, extolled the good faith of his allies, which had just been proven to him anew. But not even these achievements satisfied the Dutch. On the contrary, the enemy was sought out once more and, after a long struggle, both galleons were so badly damaged that the Portuguese barely escaped by bending to their oars.
So numerous and so glorious were the victories won over the Portuguese! And are there still persons who believe that the Portuguese should be feared? By no means! Press on, press on, O nation of seafarers! Imagine that it was not to Augustus at Actium but to you yourselves that these famous words of the Oraclea were addressed:
The last two lines are undeniably true, and especially pertinent to the present discussion. The Dutch sailor knows that he is fighting in defence of the law of nations while his foes are fighting against the fellowship of mankind; he knows that they fight to establish despotism, but that he himself is defending his own liberty and the liberty of others; he knows that the enemy are motivated by an inborn lust for evildoing, whereas the Dutch have been provoked repeatedly and over a long period by calumny, cruelty, and perfidy. The greatest of the Greek oratorsb spoke thus: ὑπὲρ μὲν ω̑̔ν ἂν ἐλαττω̑νται μἑχρι δυνατου̑ πάντες πολεμου̑σιν. περὶ δὲ του̑ πλεονεκτει̑ν οὐχ οὕτως. “All persons fight to the finish and with all their might in a defensive action opposing the infliction of injury; but this is not the case when the motive is greed for another’s property.” Alexander the Great, too, expressed himself in a manner befitting his rank as commander-in-chief, when he said:a τὸ μὲν ἄρχειν ἀδίκων ἔργων οὐκ ἀγνώμονα ἔχει τὴν πρόκλησιν, τὸ δὲ τοὺς ὀχλου̑ντας ἀποσείεσθαι, ἔκ τε τὴς ἀγαθη̑ς συνειδήσεως ἔχει τὸ θαρράλεον, καὶ ἐκ του̑ μὴ ἀδικει̑ν ἀλλ’ ἀμύνασθαι ὑπάρχει τὸ εὔελπι. “He who takes the initiative in inflicting injury certainly gives provocation of the most odious kind; but when one is repelling aggressors, the purpose of the struggle is not injury but self-defence, and therefore (since a clear conscience is attended by self-confidence) the highest hopes are entertained.”
The States Assembly of Holland, in its Decree [of September 1, 1604],14 summarizes in more concise form the very observations above set forth on the subject of benefits. This Decree makes it clear that, by the grace of God, navigation and trade have been protected and expanded in the course of our struggle with the Portuguese,b friendly kingdoms and cities have been liberated, and outstanding victories and advantages have been won from the enemy (from whom we hope to win still greater gains), while the same document also shows clearly that every one of these advantages is heavily fraught with injury and severe loss for the enemy, but with honour, benefit, and fair repute for the United Provinces of the Low Countries and for the citizens thereof, all without any expense to the state.
Part II of Chapter XVNow, just as the state profits quite as much as the merchants from damage done in battle to the Portuguese foe and from the despoliation of that foe, even so it is expedient for the state no less than for the merchants that the latter should become the owners of the prize in question. For, in view of the fact that the public treasury is exhausted by the multiple costs of an exceedingly long and arduous war, and particularly by the heavy naval costs, no development could be more opportune than the destruction of the enemy’s strength at private expense. But the wise man does not incur expense unless the attendant risk is cancelled by the prospect of a fair profit. Therefore, the members of the States Assembly are making a very proper move when they not only favour the East Indian trade in all other respects but also decide that it is just, and beneficial to the state, to assign the things captured at the expense and risk of the East India Company to the members of that Company. Accordingly, in conformity with the principle expressed (for example) in Propertius’a verse, and furthermore implicit in natural reason itself,
We conclude, then, that he who disdains a benefit so estimable is excessively prodigal in his attitude toward opportunity and good fortune. For I should almost be justified in characterizing as a mark of senseless obstinacy the failure to seize straightway with grateful hands (so to speak) whatever becomes our own by the law of war and hence by the law of nations, as well as by grant of the States Assembly, or highest magistracy. Thus we might reasonably suppose, either that no one would persevere in a determination to resist and even fling away possession on these terms, or else, assuming the existence of persons who would do so, that such persons must be men whose example no one rightly disposed toward God and country could wish to follow. Yet there actually are Dutchmen so excessively meek that they listen patiently to sentiments befitting the foe but uttered by fellow citizens. It is indeed regrettable that [enemy] impunity has developed to a point where some Dutchmen dare to proclaim that everything is permissible for the Portuguese and nothing, for themselves! I can wish for such individuals no greater ill than that they may fall into the hands of the very foe whom they so warmly favour, though without impairment of our own sovereignty or danger to our state.
But let their idle talk—or rather, their malevolent disparagement of the public cause—be left to the punishment provided by the laws and to the diligence of the magistrates. As far as we are concerned, it is enough that we have offered enlightenment to those who are in error.
Thus, if there is any logical approach or citation of authorities capable of influencing the persons who may have rejected the profits in question on the ground that otherwise they could not have felt themselves to be complying with the demands of justice and conscience, it is possible that these persons have been rendered wiser by the arguments and corroborative examples adduced in the earlier portion of the present treatise. I myself believe that the observations already made should suffice to convince all but the very obstinate that the aforesaid profits are honourable in the highest degree.
Again, as for those critics (if such there be) who are chiefly interested in the question of benefits, let us see what objection they can offer to the acquisition of the prize. Certainly I do not think that anyone will refer in the present connexion to the well-known saying that, “Ill-gotten gains are dissipated in like fashion, and things basely acquired are not handed down to posterity.” For we ourselves willingly concur in this sentiment. In fact, we go still further and deny that anything inconsistent with justice and honour can be beneficial, even if it be granted that unjust possessions might possibly enjoy the protection of fortune and the authoritative sanction derived from the passage of long periods of time. But it has already been proved by the most incontrovertible arguments that the situation under discussion is the exact opposite of that described in the saying above quoted, so that any objection whatsoever based on such grounds necessarily collapses through the removal (so to speak) of its fundamental assumption. For it is, on the contrary, undeniably true that there are almost no possessions whose status dates back further than the ownership of things acquired through war, and it is equally true that the security of almost any nation depends (as Cicero indicates in his treatise On Duties)a upon possessions of this kind.
Accordingly, in the works of various writers, we frequently come across statements to the effect that whatever has been taken from enemies by armed force is justly possessed, and that such possessions are transmitted to one’s successors by a just title and with just cause. This very point was brought out, moreover, in the reply given by the Romans to the Auruncans with reference to the territory of the Ecetrans. The Volscians, too, were told by the Romans that such martial acquisitions were no less one’s own property than acquisitions obtained as gifts. Possibly these assertions were inspired by the fact that both of the parties who subject themselves to the hazards of war would seem to have entered into a species of contract which provides that captured goods shall be ceded to the captors, so that no injustice will be involved if a would-be conqueror, upon finding himself defeated instead, undergoes the[160 a] fate of the conquered. It will be worth our while to quote the exact words written by Dionysius of Halicarnassus in this connexion. In Dionysius’a account of the speech made by Titus Larcius, the following passage is included:
ὅτι Ῥωμαι̑οι καλλίστας ὑπολαμβάνομεν κτήσεις εἰ̑ναι καὶ δικαιοτάτας, ἂς κατάσχωμεν πολεμῳ̑ λαβόντες, καὶ νόμῳ, καὶ οὐκ ἄν ὑπομείναιμεν μωρίᾳ τὴν ἀρετὴν ἀφανίσαι, παραδόντες αὐτὰ τοι̑ς ἀπολωλεκόσι· κοινωνητἑον τε πα̑σι καὶ τοι̑ς ἐκ τούτων γενομἑνοις καταλιπει̑ν ἀγωνιου̑μεθα. νυ̑ν δὲ ὑπαρχόντων ἤδη στερησόμεθα, καὶ ἑαυτοὺς ὅσα πολεμίους βλάψομεν.
We Romans believe that those possessions are most honourable and most just which we have acquired by capture in accordance with the law of war, and we certainly cannot be persuaded to return the said possessions to the persons who once lost them, thus destroying with fatuous complaisance the monuments to our own valour. Since it is our belief, then, that where this public wealth is concerned we should strive to transmit a vast quantity of such possessions to our descendants, shall we allow ourselves to be despoiled of the things which we have already acquired, and shall we decree against ourselves the very measures that are wont to be decreed against enemies?
Again, in the reply of the Roman senators to the Volscians, we find this declaration:b
ἔμει̑ς δὲ κρατίστας ἔγούμεθα κτήσεις ἂς ἂν πολεμῳ̑ κρατήσαντες λάβωμεν· οὔτε πρω̑τοι καταστησάμενοι νόμον τόνδε, οὔτε αὐτὸν ἀνθρώπων ἔγούμενοι εἰ̑ναι μα̑λλον ἢ οὐχὶ θεω̑ν· ἅπαντάς τε[160′ a] καὶ Ἕλληνας καὶ βαρβάρους εἰδότες αὐτῳ̑ χρωμἑνους, οὐκ ἄν ἐνδοίημεν ὑμι̑ν μαλακὸν οὐδὲν, οὐδ’ ἂν ἀποσταίημεν ἔτι τω̑ν δορυκτήτων. πολλὴ γὰρ ἂν εἴη κακότης εἴ τις ἂ μετὰ ἀρετη̑ς καὶ ἀνδρείας ἐκτήσατο, ταυ̑τα ὑπὸ δειλίας τε καὶ μωρίας ἀφαιρεθείη.
We, on the other hand, regard that which has been acquired by capture from the enemy as the most honourable kind of possession. Furthermore, since we ourselves are not the first to establish this criterion but are merely complying with it as with a law of divine rather than human origin, one confirmed by the usage of all nations, Greek and barbarian alike, we shall not be moved by cowardice to restore anything to you, nor shall we renounce the possessions acquired in warfare. For the loss, through ignorance or fear, of acquisitions made through valour and fortitude would be shameful in the extreme.
In the reply of the Samnites, too,a these words appear: πολἑμῳ κρατησάντων ἔμω̑ν, ὅπερ ἐστὶ νόμος κτήσεως δικαιότατος; “. . . since we have obtained possession by force of arms, a fact which constitutes the most just title to possession.” Yet again, the oration of Fabriciusb includes the following statement: ἐκείνῃ μὲν γε κτήσει, καὶ τὸ μεθ’ ἔδονη̑ς ποιει̑σθαι τὰς ἀπολαύσεις, πρὸς τὸ καλω̑ς καὶ δικαίως πόσον ἠ̑ν; “For that type of acquisition” (Fabricius is referring to acquisition through war) “was characterized not only by justice and honour, but also by the exceedingly great pleasure derived therefrom.”
But even if the possession of the prize in question is not in itself a matter open to doubt, we must still deal with the fears regarding some ex post facto development such as might occur, for example, if the case should subsequently be brought into court. We must picture the judge of that hypothetical trial, however, as being either a Spanish subject or a person of non-Spanish nationality.
Anyone who believes it possible for the Dutch ever to find themselves under the obligation of pleading their cause even for past actions before a Spanish court, must indeed entertain the most pessimistic expectations regarding our native land. But if such a situation could and did arise—perish the ill-omened thought!—not only this particular prize but every Dutchman, too, together with all his goods, would be utterly lost. For truly,
Perhaps there are some who fear that as a result of such a development their own property may be held back by the enemy, in the event that commercial relations with the latter are renewed but the war continues. As if, forsooth, the foe had not adopted this very device prior to the events under discussion; or as if he needed a fresh pretext for continuing to do so! Besides, it is not sufficiently clear to me why anyone who finds the East Indian trade so lucrative and for whom it shows a daily increase in profits, should prefer that other field of trade, which is exposed to so many perils and to the malice of the enemy. In short, either we should abandon that [trade with the enemy] altogether, or else we should proceed with our activities in it only after Spain has become unable to do without Dutch merchandise. Moreover, if the foe nevertheless does revert to his former perfidious ways, the suit in question will be brought against the merchants, not15 on the ground that they have possession of the aforementioned prize (for in those [hostile] lands no one can know who has received a share of the prize and who, on the contrary, has refused to receive any), but rather on the ground that the said[160′] merchants have engaged in trade with the East Indian peoples in defiance of the edict issued by the King of the Spanish realms. For are we not aware of the fact that the Spanish Government has proscribed the men at the head of this commercial venture? Nor had these men yet seized the carack, at the time of their proscription. Yet the practice of trade with the East Indians was so heinous a crime in the eyes of the Spanish King, that he devised a substitute as dark and ignominious as possible for the punishment which he could not inflict upon the persons of the individuals involved. Furthermore, even with respect to charges based specifically on the acquisition of the prize, if that act be regarded as manifestly unjust (for it may perhaps be so regarded by the enemy), then the rule of restitution and the authority of legal experts will show that the responsibility lies not only with the persons who took possession, but also—and in the fullest sense—with the authors and advocates of the act.a Therefore, since there would be no impunity on that score if the case were submitted to a judge of Spanish nationality, there is no reason to be more fearful on this ground than on other grounds. Indeed, we ought rather to exert ourselves in order to prevent the case from ever coming before such an arbiter.
If, on the other hand, we picture the judge as being not an enemy but some friendly prince or people, then, in the first place, the fear to which we have referred is quite unfounded, since neither appropriation of pledges nor reprisals are ever allowed for acts that have passed between belligerents. Indeed, as long as a war has not been declared unjust (and no one has pronounced such a judgement against the war waged by the Dutch), the retention of captured possessions is an act so just that those possessions cannot be made the subject of controversy. Besides, recourse is had to reprisals in the interest of fellow citizens but not on behalf of foreigners, and the present case is the concern of the Portuguese [, who would not be fellow citizens of any non-Spanish subject].
Moreover, if we are to conceive of some [non-Spanish] judge who is [nevertheless] devoted to the Spanish cause and eager to surrender everything to Spain, then surely, in the estimation of that judge, it will be not so much the acquisition of the prize, as the use of arms against the [Spanish] ruler, the practice of trade with the East Indians, and numerous other matters, that will call in part for atonement and in part for defensive pleading. For acquisition of spoils can result in an obligation equivalent to but not greater than the value of the spoils taken, so that restitution for such acquisitions merely cancels the profit derived from them without inflicting actual loss; whereas the computation of penalties for the other charges against us would be restrained by no limits.
Furthermore, in so far as reprisals are concerned, their nature is such that the act of any given citizen involves every other citizen of the same state, so that under this head nothing more is to be feared by the persons who have received a share of the prize than by those who have not done so. Therefore, there is no reason [based upon the danger of reprisals] for refusing to lay claim to the prize.
As for the possibility that there may be someone who does lay claim to it in a restricted sense but nevertheless seeks to appease his scruples or timidity by some means other than [outright repudiation of his portion], such a person will be doubly in error. For that which is claimed must be either retained or transferred. It can be retained, moreover, with either of two intentions: that is to say, with the purpose of restoring it to the enemy, or with the purpose of putting it aside for one’s own benefit.
Captured possessions, however, neither can nor should be returned to their former owners. For where will those owners be found? Do we perhaps expect that subjects of the enemy state will come from India, or from Lisbon, in order to reclaim their property through the legal ceremony known as an “act of joint seizure”?16 But the owners themselves have banished from their minds all hope of reclaiming that property, as if openly acknowledging that they have merely suffered the fate decreed by the law of war; and he who takes a contrary view, questioning the lawful right which not even the foe disputes, is indeed deserving of ridicule. For it is quite clear that persons waging a war in good faith are not bound, even in conscience, to make restitution. Neither is it right that spoils should be restored to the enemy, even if such restoration should be entirely possible. For deeds that aid the enemy, whether financially or in any other way, are contrary to the laws and violate the majesty of the nation.a If the fatherland itself were able to address the persons who attempt to give such aid, surely it would speak as follows: “All good citizens act to this end, labour in this cause and unhesitatingly pour out their blood and their riches for this purpose, namely: to ensure the greatest felicity for me by depriving the foe of every means of injury. Thus they believe it to be beneficial for me and consequently glorious for themselves to take from those who are stubbornly inimical their very lives, and from those who are in error the resources which are obviously being misused in a manner ruinous to me. As for you, do you even wish to give back to my enemies the things already snatched away from them by the fortunes of war, thereby turning my loss, forsooth, to a corresponding enrichment of those persons who—impelled not by ignorance nor by any error, but rather by their own ambition and their own avarice—have unanimously conspired to bring destruction upon me[161′] and upon each of you, individually?” In my opinion, no one after hearing this exhortation would have any choice but to acknowledge his fault, confessing that he had been led astray by false arguments rather than that he had been deliberately undutiful toward his country.
Now, granting that it is not permissible to restore captured possessions to the enemy, let us consider whether or not it is in any sense beneficial to keep those possessions apart from the rest of one’s property.
If this policy is adopted in order to prevent other goods from being contaminated by the admixture of spoils, such superstitious scruples certainly call for ridicule rather than for confutation; unless, perchance, we believe that ill-got possessions are like bad eggs in that contagion creeps from coin to coin in consequence (as it were) of their mutual proximity, instead of recognizing the fact that the term “patrimony” denotes a complete whole which preserves the same nature throughout, even though it may be distributed in different coffers and purses.a Thus, precisely as goods justly obtained (a description which includes spoils taken in a just war) serve as a righteous means of increasing and adorning that whole, so the latter cannot possibly escape contamination from goods unrigh-teously acquired even when they are segregated and removed to a great distance. For the only pertinent question is this: do I wish these goods to be numbered among my possessions, or not? Yet I cannot be considered to have excluded from my possessions anything that I take as my own and keep.
Again, if any person divides his property with a view to averting the necessity for a search at some future time when he may be compelled by judicial decree to make restitution [for captured goods], that person has not only become fearful of a contingency which (as we have already pointed out) need not be feared at all, or at least never in any grave degree, but he also commits a grievous error in his interpretation of the law and increases the probability of loss to himself. For one is much more easily forced to make restitution for spoils still in one’s possession than for those already consumed, since it is a well-established rule that in the latter case they are ceded to the user in recognition of good faith.b
Nor is anything more effective accomplished by those individuals who do in actual fact lay claim to spoils, but who transfer the goods claimed to others. For, assuming that such individuals imagine some taint to be attached to the property in question, it is certainly impossible to cancel by any transference of possession a responsibility that is not merely established by the laws but imposed still more forcibly by conscience.c Therefore, he who has assumed possession of spoils while acting in bad faith—in other words, while believing that the seizure of the spoils was unjust—is permanently bound by an obligation to make restitution, so that (according to the authoritiesa on the subject) he will not be released from this obligation by the act of selling or giving away the goods involved, even though they be transferred to the thousandth [subsequent] possessor. Moreover, if anyone supposes that he can be said to have shared any less in the spoils because, before touching any part of them, he transferred all right therein to another, such a person is utterly ignorant even of the ordinary aspects of jurisprudence. For whatever has fallen into another’s possession by a grant from me, even though it may have been delivered to him by a process of fictitious transfer,17 so to speak, must still be admitted to have been mine. By any other process of reasoning, nothing of all that we have received and expended through our agents will have belonged to us at all.
Furthermore, he who transfers his possessions must necessarily be distributing them among the poor, or else handing them over to some organized entity or to another individual.
When one bestows a gift upon the poor, he is to all intents and purposes making a gift to God. Such conduct is indeed praiseworthy in the highest degree. For what act is more just than the acknowledgement, when revenue has been quite unexpectedly received, of the benefaction conferred by Him to whom alone victory in war is due? Thus, not only among the Jews, but also among the Greeks, the Romans, and still other peoples, the consecration of a tithe or some such portion of the spoils became an established custom. On the other hand, this very fact indicates with sufficient clarity that it is unnecessary to give up the whole. For even Abraham,b who gave the priest tithes from the spoils, nevertheless did not deprive his allies nor his attendants of their portions. Again, in the history of Moses,c it is clearly written that, even after liberal sacrificial offerings had been made, there was still so much spoil that every man kept a great deal of it for himself. Nevertheless, the most thorough consideration must be given to the question of whether the person who sets aside a certain amount of spoil as an offering to God, makes that oblation as something of his own, or as something belonging to another. If he offers it as his own, he undoubtedly acts rightly, and we have no dispute with him; for whatever any man has acquired, he may also transfer. But if the gift is offered as the property of another, let the giver take care lest he offend God, whom he strives to placate,[162′] by the act of thrusting upon the Deity that which he believes himself unable to retain with a clear conscience. For God, who forbade that the hire of a whore should be dedicated to Him, makes it quite clear that no gift is pleasing to Him unless it be drawn from goods righteously acquired.a This is the import of Augustine’s statementb that one ought not to commit thefts even for the purpose of feeding God’s holy poor.
On the other hand, those persons who transfer a right either to an organized entity or to an individual, must be regarded as having sold that right, if they receive anything in exchange for it; or, even if they wish for no payment except gratitude, they still may not deny that they first considered as their own that which they are now converting into the property of another. For no one can give away what he does not possess.c Therefore, both before the court of conscience and in the judgement of the civil courts, the individuals who have adopted this course of action find themselves in the same position as those who have accepted ownership [of the prize]. For even the latter receive, not the actual goods involved, but the price thereof; and this, moreover, they exchange daily for other things.
EpilogueThus the persons who imagine that there is some reason which makes it imprudent to seize and hold spoil taken from the Portuguese enemy, are in numerous ways either deceivers or deceived.
I therefore exhort the merchants, and the East India Company, not to allow themselves to be dissuaded on any pretext (for all of the pretexts adduced are certainly false and without force) from their purpose: a purpose approved not only by accepted custom and in the eyes of mankind, but also by divine law and in the court of conscience; one which is not merely devoid of turpitude, but worthy of being regarded as especially honourable and even glorious; in fine, a purpose attended by no disadvantage whatsoever, but rather by the richest promise of benefits both from a private and from a public standpoint. Let them make frequent voyages to the most distant lands in that spirit of inviolable good faith which is characteristic of the Dutch! Let them defend the right of commerce against every possible injury! Let them win allies for the fatherland, and let them also acquire enemy property both for their country and for themselves!
Moreover, I beg and entreat of every one of our governmental assemblies (both those of our individual nations and the States General of the United Provinces), the leaders and lords of public liberty, that they will continue to promote and protect, with the favourable treatment accorded at the outset, this enterprise which is opportune in the highest degree, detrimental to the foe, beneficial for our people and fraught with glory for those assemblies themselves. I beg and entreat, too, that they will not permit toil to go without rewards, valour without honour, peril without profit, and expenditures without reimbursement.
As a suppliant also before God the Eternal, sole Author of our state and its Guiding Spirit, whom we call “Most Excellent” in referring to His will and “Greatest” in referring to His power, seeing that it has pleased Him to select the Dutch in preference to all others for the purpose of manifesting through them the feebleness of any degree of human might in opposition to His strength, and seeing, too, that it has been His pleasure to reveal the glory of our race to the farthest regions of the world created by Him, I pray and reverently implore: first, that He will instil into our people such habits of conduct as befit the name of Christian, so that no fault on their part may render the true religion odious to unconsecrated nations; secondly, that He will frustrate the cruel designs of our enemies, not choosing that the innocent shall succumb to the savagery of those enemies but, on the contrary, heaping loss and disaster upon the latter, praise and honour upon the former; that He will restrain the pestilential madness of those who are in disaccord with the fatherland; that He will impart sound understanding to those now led astray by error, and that He will bestow upon all of us a wisdom that will enable us to use and enjoy victory (which is, we acknowledge, a gift from heaven) in a spirit no less grateful than pure.
A copy of each of the following documents will be appended:18
Table of Rules and Laws Compiled from Chapter II of the Commentary
rule i. What God has shown to be His Will, that is law.
rule ii. What the common consent of mankind has shown to be the will of all, that is law.
rule iii. What each individual has indicated to be his will, that is law with respect to him.
rule iv. What the commonwealth has indicated to be its will, that is law for the whole body of citizens.
rule v. What the commonwealth has indicated to be its will, that is law for the individual citizens in their mutual relations.
rule vi. What the magistrate has indicated to be his will, that is law in regard to the whole body of citizens.
rule vii. What the magistrate has indicated to be his will, that is law in regard to the citizens as individuals.
rule viii. Whatever all states have indicated to be their will, that is law in regard to all of them.
rule ix. In regard to judicial procedure, precedence shall be given to the state which is the defendant, or whose citizen is the defendant; but if the said state proves remiss in the discharge of its judicial duty, then that state shall be the judge, which is itself the plaintiff, or whose citizen is the plaintiff.
law i. It shall be permissible to defend [one’s own] life and to shun that which threatens to prove injurious.
law ii. It shall be permissible to acquire for oneself, and to retain, those things which are useful for life.
law iii. Let no one inflict injury upon his fellow.
law iv. Let no one seize possession of that which has been taken into the possession of another.
law v. Evil deeds must be corrected.
law vi. Good deeds must be recompensed.
law vii. Individual citizens should not only refrain from injuring other citizens, but should furthermore protect them, both as a whole and as individuals.
law viii. Citizens should not only refrain from seizing one another’s possessions, whether these be held privately or in common, but should furthermore contribute individually both that which is necessary to [other] individuals and that which is necessary to the whole.
law ix. No citizen shall seek to enforce his own right against a fellow citizen, save by judicial procedure.
law x. The magistrate shall act in all matters for the good of the state.
law xi. The state shall uphold as valid every act of the magistrate.
law xii. Neither the state nor any citizen thereof shall seek to enforce his own right against another state or its citizens, save by judicial procedure.
law xiii. In cases where [the laws] can be observed simultaneously, let them [all] be observed; when this is impossible, the law of superior rank shall prevail.
APPENDIXES TO THE LIBERTY FUND EDITION
Documents Listed by Grotius at the End of the Manuscript
Edict of the Estates General of the United Provinces April 2, 15991
[Front page of the pamphlet]
Proclamation of the Lords of the Generall States, of the United Provinces, whereby the Spaniards and all their goods are declared to be lawfull prize: As also containing a strickt defence or restraint of sending any goods, wares, or merchandizes to the Spaniards or their adherents, enemies to the Netherlands.
Faithfully translated out of the Dutch coppy. Printed at S. Graven Haghe by Aelbercht Heyndrickson, Printer to the Generall States.
Imprinted at London by John Wolfe, and are to be solde at his shop in Popes-head Alley, neere the Exchange. 1599.
A Proclamation, of the Lordes the
generall States of the united Provinces,
whereby the Spaniards and all their goods are
declared to be lawfull prize. As also containing a strict
defence or restraint of sending any goods, wares, or
Merchandizes to the Spaniards or their adher-
ents, enemies to the Netherlands.
The Generall States of the United Provinces,2 to all such as shall see or heare these presents, make knowne:
that whereas it is every day more then other most apparant and manifest, that the enterprises of the Spanish nation, with their conioyned adherents, hath not been only pretended to reduce these Netherlands by their deceitfull practises, and the uttermost violence and force, under their wilfull and superbious dominion and tyrannicall government, both over consciences, bodies, & goods: But also that in the years past, they have attempted, with their usual violent complots, to reduce the realmes of England and Fraunce, under their power.
Which they not being able (according to their desires to performe) now openly & by maine force, assault the neighbour countries of the Electors3 and Princes, and other neutrall places of the Empire,4 not refusing to overrun the Cities and Fortresses, with all manner of violence, barter them with peeces, ransomming them, and filling them with their souldiors, destroying the flat land, ravishing and deflowring of women and maides, pilling, robbing, murdering and burning, not favouring the house or castels of Princes, Earles or Gentlemen, nor yet their persons, as sufficiently appeareth by their barbarous dealings in the bishoprick of Collen,5 the Dukedomes of Cleve and Bergh, and the Bishopricke of Munster, and other bordering countries.
The ministers of this spanish tyrannie boasting, that according to their own pleasures they will proceede in their begunne actions, especially in these places, untill such time as they shall have reduced the whole (besides these Netherlandes) under their Spanish yoake, & wholly rooted out the exercise of the true Christian religion. To which end they have publikely in divers places of the Empire, altered the religion and pollicie of the same, by force, threats, and other undecent dealings. Moreover, vaunting to bee glad, that in the behalfe of the Princes Electors and others, the armes be taken up, for that they shall (as they say) the better attaine the purpose.
Moreover, that the new king of Spaine,6 the Infanta,7 and the Spanish Counsell, as well in Spaine as in the Low countries, deceitfully and forcibly, hinder and disturbe al navigations, dealings, traffique, & trade, so with inhabitants of the Netherlands, as with those of other kingdomes, countries, and citties, in most barbarous and tyrannicall sort, misusing the persons, attaching8 their shippes, & violating their graunted promises by water and land, all under the pretence and colour, because that we have hitherto joyntly resisted their false & deceitfull dealings and have not beene mooved to yeeld and subvert the United Netherlands, and the good inhabitantes thereof, under these barbarous tyrannie, and imperious dominion.
And since that by gods mightie power, the assistance of her most excellent Majesty of England,9 & other kings, princes, & common-weales, togither with our patience and good endevors, we have for these many yeres withstood these tyrannicall enterprises, (which they have bent against al Christendome) & hope further, with Gods helpe and assistance (as aforesaid) to withstand, & therein are resolved also to visit the Spaniards in the kingdoms & lands by them occupied, not onely to hinder their aforesaid tyranous pretence, but also to recover our losses & damages sustained by them, as wel with our ships of war, as by such as are allowed by our order, hoping assuredly that his divine Maiestie wil blesse our rightful & needfull enterprises, and once wholy free and deliver the Netherlands from the aforesaid tyrannie of the Spaniards and their adherents. And also will moove and incite the neighbour Kings, Princes, Electors, Earles, Barrons, and Common-wealthes, that uppon good consideration, they may take and use Armes, to assure their perrillous estate, and to that ende, to drive out the Spaniards and their complices, from the Emperours territories; and so out of the Netherlands: as also wee finde to bee most expedient and necessary for the accomplishment of so Christian lyke, rightfull, and needfull common cause, against the said Spaniards and their conioyned adherents, to be with all deepe insight looked into, that there be not any Shippes, goods or Marchandizes, sent them by water, land or otherwise, the same beeing not onely permitted by the common people, but also the emperiall rights and custome of all Kings, Princes, and Common-weales, beeing in warre or controversie, besides that the same hath beene made knowne by many firme orders and Proclaimations. As well by the above named the Queenes Maiestie of England, (with whome we are in sure alliance) as also of these countries. And we therefore intend not to permit that any person of the united lands, using trafficke or fishing at sea, or on the waters within the land, shall suffer himselfe to be deceived, seduced, and endamaged, by any deceitfull pasports, safegardes, or safe conducts of the said common enemie, as wee understand heeretofore (against our good meanings) by some hath been done.
So it is, that we uppon ripe and profound deliberation, and by the advise of the illustrious Prince and Lord Maurice,10 borne Prince of Orange, Counte of Nassou, Marquess of der Vere,Flushing, &c., Governour and Captaine Generall of Gelderland,Holland,Zealand,Utrecht,Overysel, &c. as Admirall generall, have declared, and declare by these presents, for good and lawfull prize, all persons and goods, under the dominion of the Spanish king, in all places where they shall or may be got, have furthermore againe of new, stricktly defended, forbidden, and respectively notified: defend, forbid, and notifie by these presents, all and everie one, of what condition, realme, or land soever, none excepted, not to lade, ship, bring, or transport by water or land, directly or indirectly, under what colour or pretence soever, any ships, goods, wares, or merchandizes, for11 or to any haven, cittie, or place of the enemie, in the kingdomes of Spaine,Portugall, or other places of Europe, under the dominion, subjection, or commaund of the new king of Spaine; the Archduke Albertus of Austria,12 or the Infanta of Spaine, uppon paine of confiscation of the same goods, wares, or merchandizes, together with the shippes, waggons, carts, and horses, wherein, or whereon the same shall bee laden, and all such further punishment as hereafter shall be declared.
And to prevent all fraudes, subtile practises, and deceits, which might in these United Netherlands be pretended by any, of what countrie, condition, or quallitie soever, against these our orders and defences. Wee ordaine and command stricktly by these presents, all Convoy maisters,13 Controulers, Searchers, and all other our Deputies in all Havens, Citties, and places of the same landes, uppon the oathe whereby they are bound to these countries uppon privation of their offices and arbitrall correction: We authorise like-wise all others, dwelling in the aforesaide united Netherlands, or frequenting the same: dilligentlye to enquire, and to take sharpe regarde & if this our order bee by any one, of what countrie, condition or qualitie soever, violated or broken.
And if in the aforesaid Havens, Citties, or places, any goods be laden, shipped, or carred, which being found, we will and ordaine them to be ceazed & sequestrated, for summarily and without common course or traine in lawe, the saide goodes which shall bee found to have bene so laden togither with the shippes, waggons, carts, and horses, to be confiscated, the one third part to the use of the accuser, be he an officer, or otherwise in service of the land or no, and the other two third parts, to the use of the common causes, wher-out the officer who shall follow the matter in law shall be contented. Ordaining moreover, that the proprietaries, or owners of the said goods, as also maisters of the said ships, waine men, or carmen, in whose ships, or upon whose waines or carts, they shall be found to be laden in the forbidden havens, citties, and places, to be apprehended, and stayed untill such time as they shall have paide and accomplished all such further pennalties and corrections, wherein according to the nature of their trespasse (by the arbitrements of the judge) they shall be condemned, which may not be less (for so much as toucheth the merchants) then a thousand pounds; and for each of the shippers or maisters of ships, five hundreth pounds sterling of fortie pence in the pound.14
And to the end that the foresaid orders may the better be followed, and all fraudes punished: We meane that within a yeare after the aforesaide trespasse, all such which shall bee found to have violated or broken the same, it shall and may be lawfull, by all officers of the saide lands, and before competent judges, to arrest and condemne them for the valew of the said goods and shippes, waggons, carts, and horses, togither with the above named penalties and corrections. The sentence whereof by provision shall be executed, all appellations & provocations notwithstanding.
And if any in the aforesaid united Provinces desired to ship or lade any goods, to transport the same to the neighbour countries or friends: the same shall not bee permitted unto him, unlesse he have leave and license thereto from us, the said Lord Admirall generall, or from those which thereunto by us shall be appointed; and that by the shippes which shall lade the same, sufficient sureties shall be set for the valew of their shippes, that the saide laden goods shall not be carried to any other place but to the havens, citties, and places of our said friends and allies; and that within a certaine prefixed reasonable time named in their pasports, according to the distance of the haven, to yeeld sufficient certification and proofe thereof; or else their bond shall be executed uppon the sureties, for the aforesaid valew, to the use of the common causes.
And further, we charge all Admirals, Vice Admirals, Captaines, and Commissioners for sea, all Chieftaines, Generals of horses, Captaines, and officers of men of war by land, to take sharpe regarde, that all such of what lande or condition soever, as shall have any goods, wares, or merchandizes in their shippes, upon their waines, cartes, horses, or otherwise laden, being bound for the saide realmes, countries and citties, held and occupied by the enemies, may be pursued, overtaken, and brought backe to the colleges of the Admiraltie,15 and other justices aforesaid, to be punished according to the tenor of these presents.
And we being resolved to keepe a good and sure order for the defence of the ships of trade and fishing, using at sea, against all forraine invasions & robbings of the enemie, as also against the exorbitant ransomes which the common enemies use in the pilling and ransoming of the same. We have therefore forbidden and interdicted, forbid and interdicte by these present, all inhabitants of the united lands, as well Merchants Ships, Pilots, as other, using trafficke or fishing, at Sea or on the Rivers within the land, or transporting any goods beyond the seas, to take or procure any pasports or safegards of the enemies, in no manner or sort, upon confiscation of the ships and goods of such as shall be found to have taken any, with further arbitrall correction. Ordaining that the givers of the said pasports, safegardes, or safe conductes of the common enemie, shall bee for example of other,16 punished by losse of life, and confiscation of theyr goods, as ayders of the enemy.
And if in case any of the ships or Pilots be by the enemie taken, and over and above the order by us therto established, be ransomed and endamaged, we will and ordaine that the same unreasonable ransomes and damages shall be recovered uppon the Officers, Justices, and subiects of the vilages of Brabant, Flaunders, and others, remaining under the enemies’ dominion, besides what they shall pay to the commissioner for ransome, charging and authorizing the deputed counsel of the States of the respective Provinces, whose subjects against these our orders shall be by the common enemie by exorbitant and unreasonable ransomes or otherwaies endammaged, to take notice thereof, and to recover and reimburse them as before, by such proceedings and meanes of execution, as in like matter is commonly used.
And to the ende no man pretend ignorance hereof, we signifie and commaund our beloved, the States, Lieutenants,17 and appointed Counsailors of the States, and deputed States of the respective Provinces of Gelderland, Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Vriesland, Overyssel, Grooning and Ommelanden,18 and all other Justices, and Officers unto whom it doth belong to cause this our will and ordinance to be every where published and proclaimed, in the places where the publique Proclimations are usually proclaimed, we charge likewise the Chauncelor, Presidents, and provinciall Counsailours, Advocates, Fiscals, and generall Attorneys; and all other Officers, Judges, and Justices of the aforesaide Countries, together with all Chiefetaines, Coronels, Admirals, Vice-Admirals, Generals of horses, Captaines, Officers and Commaunders, to follow and ensue these our ordinances, and to cause them to be followed and ensued, proceeding and causing to be proceeded against the transgressors thereof, without grace, favour, dissimulation or delaye, as we have found the same for the Lands welfare to be most needfull.
Given in S. Graven Haghe,19 the second of Aprill. 1599.
I. van Oldenbarnevelt v.20
Verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Board September 9, 160422
Extract from the Register of Verdicts Pronounced by the Delegated Councillors of the Amsterdam College of the Admiralty Board (notarized copy). The Delegated Councillors of the Amsterdam Admiralty Board have reviewed the case between the Advocate-Fiscal of Holland,23 the Company of Eight Ships,24 and Admiral Jacob van Heemskerk—the plaintiffs, and all those contumacious persons who might otherwise have come forward for the protection of the St. Catarina and its cargo.25
In justification of the interdiction, the plaintiffs posited that the aforesaid Company had sent a fleet of eight ships to the East Indies under the command of the aforesaid Admiral in order to trade with the inhabitants in the usual fashion and with the permission of the local authorities. To that purpose, the Admiral had received a commission from His Princely Excellency,26 which obliged the former to defend himself with all possible means against anyone who tried to attack or harm him on his voyage, while also authorizing him to obtain reparations for damages sustained.
After passing the Canaries, the fleet found itself under attack from a powerful armada of thirteen Spanish warships. The Red Lion bore the brunt of the Spanish cannonades and was even boarded, which caused the death of the pilot and a few other crew members and the wounding of several more. As a result, the vessel was forced to abort the voyage and return home. In his efforts to relieve it, the Admiral had been in great danger of losing his own ship—some of his crew were shot dead, while the fleet was weakened by the loss of one of its best vessels. In addition, the Vice-Admiral27 found himself alone in the midst of the Spanish armada the following day and extricated himself with difficulty. He remained separated from the rest of the fleet for the duration of both the outward and return voyages.
Van Heemskerk continued on to Bantam, where he learned about the naval battle between the Portuguese armada commanded by André Furtado de Mendonça and the five Dutch ships, also belonging to this Company and commanded by Wolfert Hermanszoon. The Portuguese armada had been expressly authorized to destroy all Dutch ships and their crews, as well as the East Indian nations that granted the latter access to their harbors and markets. When the Portuguese were thwarted in their design to invade and subdue Bantam by the five Dutch ships, they had gone to Hitu on the island of Ambon and brutally tyrannized the poor inhabitants. In addition, they had captured and wrecked the island of Makian, which belonged to the King of Ternate, again tyrannically abusing the inhabitants. It had been their intention to do the same thing at Ternate, where two Spanish ships had arrived from Manila to assist them, for no other reason than that the King of Ternate and his subjects had traded with the Dutch. Two ships from Holland called Utrecht and Guardian had been exposed to great dangers in fighting the Iberian armada and left Ternate with less than half the cargo they were supposed to have taken in.
All this came to the notice of Van Heemskerk, along with reports of the mistreatment of twenty crew members of the fleet of Jacob van Neck, for which the Portuguese at Macao were responsible. They had shamelessly hanged and strangled seventeen crew members, while sending the other three to Goa as prisoners. When a certain Grusberghen reached Cochin China with two ships for the purpose of trading there, the local ruler, at the instigation of a Portuguese monk, slew twenty-three of his crew and imprisoned several of his officers, only to release them in exchange for two iron guns. Three men whom Van Heemskerck had left at Banda on a previous voyage were chased relentlessly by the Portuguese when they tried to cross over to Ambon in order to trade there. Two of them escaped and saved themselves by taking refuge with the heathens on some island. Yet one of them was captured by the Portuguese and quartered alive by means of four galleys.
The Portuguese engaged in many other hostile and tyrannical procedures against us. It is notorious how gruesomely and tyrannically they treated the crew, cargo, and ships of Balthasar de Cordes at Tidore. Several of De Cordes’s crew surrendered to the Portuguese in the belief that the latter would keep a promise to spare them. Yet they were shamelessly murdered by the Portuguese, who forced them to witness each other’s mutilation—first hands, then feet, and finally heads were cut off. In addition, the Portuguese used fireships in an attempt to destroy two of Van Neck’s vessels. At Aceh, they incited the local ruler to attack two Zeeland ships that wanted to trade there, which cost the lives of many people.
In consultation with his council of naval officers, the Admiral decided not just to resist an enemy who had subjected the Dutch to so much harm, abuse, trouble, and tyranny, but to inflict the greatest possible damage in order to prevent any repetition thereof in the future. By these means, permitted by natural law and jus gentium and enjoined by the commission of his Princely Excellency, the East Indian trade, so important to these Provinces, might be continued peaceably, free of violence, and without let or hindrance. With these considerations in mind, the Admiral departed from Bantam with two ships of his fleet and sailed east in search of appropriate lading.
In the vicinity of the Kingdom of Johore, he encountered the carrack in question, carrying seven hundred fighting men, most of them Portuguese and enemies of these Provinces and their commerce. Acting upon the council’s aforesaid resolution and mindful of the edict of the Estates General, declaring the possessions of Philip III’s subjects to be good prize, regardless of the time and place of seizure, the Admiral first attacked and captured the carrack, and then put its crew ashore safely. He took the carrack along with him to Holland, where he unloaded its cargo, including some clothes of the Dutch sailors hanged in Macao, and stored the goods in an orderly fashion for safekeeping.
The directors of the Company of Eight Ships have asked this Board to pronounce judgement in this case, which it is authorized to do according to its instructions. Since nobody has come forward for the protection of carrack and cargo, the plaintiffs have requested and obtained a citation by means of posted announcements. Following the custom of this Board, the citation has been repeated three times, with fourteen-day intervals. Since nobody has presented himself, the Board ascertains the first, second, and third defaults at the request of the plaintiffs. For the benefit of the latter, it declares all those who might have come forward for the protection of carrack and cargo guilty of contumacy, dismissing any further claims and defenses on their part. The Board sustains the claim of the plaintiffs as being supported by their documents and evidence. It concludes that the aforesaid Admiral had a sufficient cause to capture the carrack, as belonging to the Portuguese and subjects of Philip III, enemies of these United Provinces and their Indies trade, which they tried to eradicate by means of violence, intrigue, and deceit. The Admiral derived his authority not only from the written laws and jus gentium, but also from the edicts of the Estates General and in particular his commission, as the Portuguese admitted themselves. Even the Governor of Malacca recognized that Van Heemskerk had captured the carrack in a just war. The plaintiffs have exhibited various acts, titles, attestations, and other documents in support of the above facts and opinions. Based on these proofs, they request that the Board render a definitive verdict and impound carrack and cargo, declaring them good prize.
The aforesaid Delegated Councillors have given all of this their full consideration.
Sentencing for contumacy in the name of His Excellency as Lord High Admiral, they confiscate the aforesaid carrack, including all its cargo, and declare it to be good prize. They order the carrack to be auctioned off in its entirety and the proceeds to be divided among the plaintiffs, in accordance with the relevant instructions and ordinances of the Estates General. Drawn up and pronounced at the meeting of the aforesaid Delegated Councillors in Amsterdam on September 9, 1604.
(The Amsterdam notary H. Oosterman signed this particular copy of the verdict after collating it with the original.)
Decree of the Estates of Holland September 1, 160428
The Estates of Holland and West Friesland have read and examined a report submitted by the province’s Audit Office and Advocate Fiscal. Citing the law and custom of Holland and West Friesland, the report argues that the County of Holland, not the East India Company,29 should enjoy the carrack and cargo captured by Jacob van Heemskerck from the Portuguese in the East Indies.
After due deliberation the Estates of Holland and West Friesland have established that the aforesaid Van Heemskerck was appointed admiral and commander of several Indiamen by His Excellency, Lord High Admiral of the navy, and sailed to the East Indies with the approval of the Estates General. Every captain who served under Van Heemskerck received an individual commission from His Excellency as well. It is common knowledge that the Portuguese and other public enemies of these provinces attacked the fleet of Van Heemskerck with warships in order to prevent him and other inhabitants of these provinces from engaging in trade and navigation in the East Indies. Such Dutchmen as reached the East Indies were, without exception, treated as enemies by the Portuguese, who, reverting to type, murdered them cruelly. The Portuguese also besieged, attacked, and killed the inhabitants of several kingdoms, towns, and countries, which had concluded trading agreements with the Dutch. Even before Van Heemskerck’s departure—for many years, in fact—the Estates General had admonished the directors of the East India Company to maintain the East Indies trade by launching well-armed fleets, sufficiently powerful not just to defend themselves against Portuguese attacks, but to go on the offensive as well.30 Van Heemskerck and other Dutch admirals and captains fought the enemy in various places in the East Indies, facing a multitude of warships. With God’s grace, they maintained and increased the East Indian navigation and trade, liberated indigenous kingdoms and towns allied to these provinces, and won notable victories over the aforesaid enemies. More advantages of this kind are expected in the future. All this has severely inconvenienced and harmed the public enemies, while increasing the honor, service, profit, and reputation of the United Provinces and its good citizens, at no expense to the commonwealth whatsoever. As a result, the Estates General has shown an even greater willingness to admonish the directors of the East India Company to maintain unity within their ranks and continue the offensive against the common enemy. To this purpose, the Estates General has incorporated the company and supported the merchants in various ways.31
For these and other good reasons, the Estates of Holland and West Friesland hereby resolve and decree that the Santa Catarina be left at the disposal of the Estates General and Admiralty Board, along with all other prizes captured in the East Indies, as a matter related to the common defense.32 Resolution drawn up in The Hague on the first of September in the year of Our Lord and Savior, 1604.
In previous years I have been in continuous correspondence with Your Majesty and informed you of anything that might affect the Lord’s service, Your Majesty, and the common welfare. The present letter serves the same purpose.
In this monsoon of April 1600 I returned to Malacca in order to write to the Captain, the municipal government, the House of Mercy, and the Chapter.35 My presence was desired by many in Malacca, where I will reside from now on, as I wrote to Your Majesty at length in December 1599. May the Almighty bestow his blessing upon me and make my presence here serviceable to His Church, as well as to Your Majesty and all the people of the South. I sent a long letter to Your Majesty with the ships that left the East Indies for Portugal this January. I mentioned whatever seemed necessary for the Lord’s service and yours, as well as the common welfare of this State. I wrote a similar letter in the previous year and attached sailing directions for Aceh, Bantam, and other regions.36 I refer you to those letters and sailing directions, which must have reached your private secretaries. For this reason, I will keep it short and only discuss the current state of the Southern regions.
Many letters written in March 1600 by reliable witnesses in China, Malacca, the Spice Islands, and elsewhere testify to the fact that twelve ships from Holland and Zeeland arrived in the southern region in 1599, notably ten ships at Bantam and two at Atjeh. These twelve ships must have left their country in 1598 and wintered on the eastern side of Madagascar. In total, sixteen well-armed merchantmen must have embarked on the voyage, whereof the admiral was lost and three ships were sidetracked in the Gulf of Guinea because of the weather. The letters do not say which course the ships have taken in these quarters, nor do I have any information about the three ships.
Of the ten ships that arrived at Bantam, four immediately received cargoes of pepper and spices and sailed home in January 1599, without having done any harm to the Bantamese, let alone to the Portuguese, or troubling a single other nation. They bought pepper at thirty ryals of eight per bahar and mace at eighty and ninety ryals of eight per bahar.37 In addition, they purchased cloves, nutmeg, and other products of these regions. They were unaware of the local prices fetched by these products, but bought them nonetheless. They ended up spending a lot of money, for they paid the highest price. They were well regarded and highly esteemed by the locals, for they were honest traders who did not resort to any kind of subterfuge, harassment, or violence. They brought along many trade goods and commodities from their provinces, whereof they sold some that appealed to the locals. They also imported all kind of guns in large quantities, which found many buyers. The guns were bartered for ryals of eight, which were sold in turn to the Bantamese and Chinese. They became fast friends and allies of the King and Regents of Bantam, and raised great expectations of continuing this trade and friendship on a regular basis, which God forbid.
Two other ships of this fleet of ten sailed along the north coast of Java and crossed over to the fortress at the island of Ambon, where they first loaded cloves at the island of Hitu and then departed to an unknown destination.
Two more ships of the aforesaid fleet sailed along the north coast of Java and crossed over to the Banda Islands, where they took in nutmeg and mace. After receiving their cargoes, these two ships returned to Bantam and sailed home in August 1599. I am told that serviceable winds blow over that sea every season of the year. They left ten or twelve men at the island of Banda Nera as a token of their friendship and intention to return there. Similarly, they left factors on the island of Hitu and in the Kingdoms of Bantam and Bali.
The remaining two ships of the fleet of ten awaited the new pepper harvest at Bantam in order to set out to sea in January 1600. Yet I have no confirmation of their departure or even of their destination.
The other two ships that had wintered at Madagascar reached Aceh in July 1599. They were initially well received by the King of Aceh, who sold them a small quantity of pepper. Yet a few Portuguese who were visiting Aceh warned the ruler that he risked his friendship with the Portuguese if he allowed Hollanders and Zeelanders to trade in his realm. With the King’s consent, they hatched a conspiracy to set the two ships on fire. Yet some royal councillors tipped off the crews of the two vessels, which left Aceh immediately, as if they were fugitives. Of the crew members who had remained ashore [and were subsequently imprisoned], the King of Aceh sent the Captain of Malacca two men who were proficient in Spanish. One of them was a pilot born and bred in Zuricaia in Portugal, who had been aboard a Brasil-man captured by the two ships and who had been forcibly taken to the East Indies against his will. Since the aforesaid men had been arrested in this city, the Captain of Malacca sent them to the Viceroy at Goa in order that he might decide on their fate. After their departure from Aceh, the two aforesaid vessels soon returned there, or to be more precise, they reached Ceylon, where the bigger ship was lost on the coast of Ceylon [near] Batticaloa. The destination of the other vessel is unknown; rumor has it that it was shipwrecked as well.
As I mentioned above, I wrote to you at length about these southern regions both this year and last. I enclosed the sailing directions for Bantam, Aceh, Patani, Gaidela, Siam, and Cambaya, along with a proposal for resolving the situation there. It is the fruit of my discussions with people of great experience who are intimately familiar with these regions. These letters and sailing directions must currently be in the hands of the Secretaries. May Your Majesty find time to look at them for the benefit of the Lord’s service as well as your own, and make such arrangements for the southern regions as will safeguard this state and commonwealth. I refer you to the aforesaid letters and sailing directions, which contain the necessary admonishments. May the Almighty grant Your Majesty a long life and good health in order to take the required measures as soon as possible.
Apart from these difficulties and new enemies in the southern regions, a junk or freighter was lost on its voyage from Japan to Macao, carrying a million in gold and over half a million in cruzados.38 The treasure belonged to the Portuguese inhabitants of Macao, who are reduced to great poverty and despair as a result of the shipwreck.
In the kingdom of Cambodia, they killed the Portuguese, including the missionaries, and rose in rebellion against us because of some harassment or aggravation suffered by them.
In the princedom of Siam, they also murdered all the Portuguese and burned some of them alive as a result of the aggravation that we caused them.
In the islands of Solor, the blacks rebelled and captured our fortress, which they lost again after half a day.
Although we kept possession of Solor, we were not so fortunate in the kingdom of Blambangan, which was a great ally of ours and counted many churches and missionaries—the inhabitants are heathens. The ruler of Pasuruan, who is a Javanese or Muslim, attacked Blambangan with a large army and defeated the King, making himself lord and master of Blambangan. He forced the heathens to convert to Islam and turned the churches into mosques, killing all the Christians.
In the Kingdom of Pegu, they killed all the Portuguese.
In the Moluccas, the inhabitants of Ternate besiege our fortress at Tidore. War is expected to break out on the island of Ambon as well.
These setbacks arise from a gross neglect of these southern regions on the part of the Estado da India. May Your Majesty quickly take the appropriate measures—sooner rather than later, if possible—and thus benefit these southern regions, which are the solace of the entire Estado and Portugal. I hope that Your Majesty will continue to give his undivided attention to these rich and excellent regions. May the Almighty reward you with many victories, which will undoubtedly result in an increased number of Christians, an expansion of the empire, and many spoils for yourself and your subjects.
The entire Estado da India yields one million in gold and four hundred thousand in cruzados annually in taxes, so I am told by the officers who administer the account for the auxiliary forces, conquests, and fleets of the South. As regards the current shortfall in the tax revenues, if there were a permanent southern fleet and admiral, the tax revenues of the southern regions would increase markedly. In addition to the rents that have already been allocated to the aforesaid conquests, another four hundred thousand cruzados should be used for this purpose, out of the million in gold earned in tax revenues. This should be sufficient for the fleets of the southern regions and its conquest and conservation. May the Almighty provide for what is required for His service.
In last year’s correspondence I wrote at length about the state of affairs in the northern regions, to which I refer Your Majesty. In this letter, I will just discuss the events of the year 1600. Our Lord has granted us a great blessing in the assassination of Cunhale,39 ordered by the Viceroy. Indeed, Don Francisco da Gama Tralhou40 did everything he could possibly do, as did André Furtado de Mendonça, the commander of the expedition, who acquitted himself well, along with all the other noblemen and soldiers, who gained honor by this victory, without any other claims or pretensions. May the Almighty keep and protect Your Royal Majesty, and grant you a long life for the sake of His Church. Dated Goa, April 30, 1600.
Underneath it was written and signed in a different hand:
Chaplain to Your Majesty, the Bishop of Malacca
The letter was addressed as follows: To the King our Lord
It said underneath: From the island of Malacca
Jan de Zwart, Public Notary accredited with the Provincial Court of Holland, residing in Amsterdam and proficient in Spanish, translated these articles from an authentic copy of the original letter. After completing the translation, the extract was collated with the authentic copy. Dated Amsterdam, October 23, 1604.41
Thus I bear witness,
(signed) Jan de Zwart, Public Notary, 1604
The Council of Malacca to the Four Representatives of the Dutch Ships Who Accompanied the Portuguese Prisoners to an Island near Malacca March 9, 160342
It is customary among kings and potentates that they disagree in their resolutions and opinions, while their subjects are harmed in their person and possessions. Fortune and opportunity has granted your Admiral such a big advantage that the ship from China surrendered to him.43 Yet these are matters that are determined by the unfathomable will of God. We send Your Honors these refreshments out of gratitude, as your Admiral and you yourself have spoken the truth to the Portuguese and kept your promises to them. We will always keep this uppermost in our minds in order to behave likewise in similar circumstances. There is nothing more to be said at this time. May God Almighty keep and preserve you. Written in the [Council] Chamber by me, Paulo Mendes de Vascola, author of the same. Dated: Malacca, March 9, 1603. Signed: Ruijs Lestaomante, Andreas Fernandes, Pero de Carvalhaets, Domingos Domonte, Isaac de Gusgago.44
Wars have divers and doubtful outcomes, which, whether good or bad, arise from God’s will alone—people are mere instruments in this respect. Your Honor was so lucky as to encounter a richly laden ship full of merchants, who have no stomach for fighting, along with women and other useless peoples, who are an impediment in cases of emergency. Your Honor may justly enjoy your prize, for you captured her in a public war. I am sorry for one thing, however: that Your Honor did not encounter my ship, so that you could have seen the difference in armaments and defensive capacity.
What happened to the Hollanders in China grieves me not a little, and it troubles me that such a heavy punishment was imposed with so little cause.47 Be assured, however, that the public prosecutor of Macao, the perpetrator of this misdeed, already languishes in jail, and will have to pay for it with his life. I nullified the charges against the Hollanders who arrived here from China and the Moluccas and showed myself a good friend to them. Hence Your Honor does not have sufficient reason to attack us in revenge.48
I dispatch a vessel in the company of the Hollanders who safely conducted the carrack’s passengers and crew to Malacca at Your Honor’s orders. I will kiss Your Honor’s hands if it pleases Your Honor to return this vessel with the friar, brother Anthonis, the captain of the carrack, and the remaining Portuguese who are still in your protection. I should furthermore be obliged if you could negotiate the release of the passengers and crew of the Chinese junk taken by the Malayans and obtain the King [of Johore]’s promise that nothing will happen to them on their way to Malacca. It would be proof that your deeds do indeed match your words.
May the Lord preserve and keep Your Honor.
Dated: Malacca, March 9, 1603.
Signed: Fernão d’Albuquerque.
The Governor of Malacca to Admiral Jacob van Heemskerck March 26, 160349
I received Your Honor’s letter with great joy. It testified to the pleasure that you took in the safe arrival [at Malacca] of the crew and passengers of the captured carrack. I expected as much from an admiral like you. I will do the same for any Hollander brought into this fortress in similar circumstances.
As for the Dutchmen whom you claim to be [imprisoned] in India and Japan, the Viceroy is accustomed to treat captives well and abhors the misdeeds of the public prosecutor of Macao. He had the man arrested in order to punish him severely. Your Honor should not, therefore, take offence at the Portuguese in general. Everybody considers what was done in China an evil deed.
In the knowledge that Your Honor cares deeply for the fate of all captives and oppressed Christians, I entreat Your Honor to do me the favor of negotiating with the King of Johor and his brother. I want him to release the Portuguese and Christians whom he keeps prisoner under the pretext of peace. I do not speak of, or wish to reclaim, the cargo of the junk, which has undoubtedly been divided among the soldiers of his navy. I only desire the release of the Portuguese and Christian prisoners, who are of little importance to the Malayans. I therefore send you Philippe Lobo and Pero Mascarenhas, whom I entreat Your Honor to take into your protection, so that they may safely return with the Portuguese prisoners and not lack your favor and goodwill.
May the Lord preserve you and bring you home to Holland according to His will.
Dated: Malacca, March 26, 1603.
Signed: Fernão d’Albuquerque
The Captain of the Santa Catarina to Admiral Jacob Heemskerck March 24, 160350
It has pleased the Lord to bring me back to Malacca under the protection and in the favor of Your Honor. All the days of my life I will sing the praises of your steadfast promises and true friendship, which I enjoyed while I was your prisoner, along with all other people who were with me. I heartily wish that I could offer you some refreshments in order to express my gratitude for your kindness and favor. Yet I have been unable to put it into effect. I am among strangers here, with poverty as my bedfellow. Indeed, I do not even have any proper clothes to speak of. What I am currently wearing is so torn and spoiled by the hail of gunfire from Your Honor’s ship that it can no longer be used as garment. For this reason I entreat Your Honor to do me a good turn and send me a piece of velvet for a new set of clothes. If Your Honor grants my request, I would consider it a great kindness and gladly receive your alms. Let Your Honor call to mind the circumstances in which you captured and released me, and in which I may find myself in the future. Whatever it pleases Your Honor to give me, you can send it to me by means of the bearer of this letter, who will deliver it to me. And I will consider myself beholden to Your Honor, since Your Honor’s gifts will merit it. May God be with you and bring you back home to Holland in good health.
Dated: Malacca, March 24, 1603.
Signed: Sebastiano Serrao
Archival Documents Relating to De Jure Praedae Translated by Martine J. van Ittersum
Nicolas de Montalegre to André Furtado de Mendonça,1 Capitão-Mór and General of the South Sea and His Conquests June 20, 16022
Entrusted to Father Pablo de Mesquita, a Portuguese Monk Intercepted at Jortan on the island of Java between June 20 and 25, 1602, by Jan Pauwels, Vice-Admiral of the Fleet of Jacob van Heemskerck
Two ships from Holland reached Grissee on May 27 and unloaded a great quantity of trade goods. Many crew members disembarked as well.
They had tried to seize indigenous vessels in the port of Demak, but received their comeuppance. The Demak authorities arrested all Dutchmen who happened to be in town—there were over fifty of them—and confiscated the trade goods that had been brought ashore. The Demak authorities accepted ransom for the officers but killed the other prisoners, with the exception of twelve sailors, who are still kept in captivity.
I took father Pablo de Mesquita aboard one of the Dutch ships so that he might give you an eyewitness account of how well equipped they are in everything. The Dutch crew is particularly eager to learn whether your Armada has gun ports close to the waterline. They brag that a big fleet of warships will arrive here from their country before long and deplore the fact that they are mere merchants. Since Spanish harbors are closed to them, they have to come to the Indies in order to make money. May God Almighty provide for this and grant you many prosperous victories in defense of your holy Catholic faith.
Signed: Your Servant Nicolas de Montalegre
Dated: Grissee, June 20, 1602
We left the port of Grissee on the seventh of June and plotted our course north of the island of Madura in a second attempt to reach the island of Bali. Before our departure we had increased the value of our trade goods at Grissee to two or three thousand guilders, both in coin and commodities, which were left under the supervision of Adriaen Schaeck, Hans Roef, and Gerrit van Doornick, with instructions to barter these for cloves, nutmeg, and mace. After we had struggled against the monsoon winds for seventeen or eighteen days, without any prospect of attaining our goal, we turned back and arrived at the port of Jortan on June 25.
We found our Vice-Admiral there, whom, because of three leaks in the bow of his ship and for other reasons, we had sent to Jortan eight days earlier. There was a Portuguese frigate as well, which had followed the Armada to the island of Ambon with a cargo of victuals. It had received orders from Admiral André Furtado de Mendonça to go first to the island of Solor and then to the port of Malacca, carrying 6 or 8 bahars of cloves and 150 bahars of sandal wood, each bahar worth eighty or a hundred ryals of eight.5 The Vice-Admiral had seized the frigate with the permission of the Governess of Grissee and confiscated the cargo, giving the Portuguese a taste of their own medicine. Since they sat in the sloops and seemed to put up resistance, several of the frigate’s crew and passengers were shot and killed by our men, including two monks. The bodies of the other men, six or seven in total, were recovered as well.
In reading some of the letters found aboard the frigate, we concluded that the Portuguese had Ambon at their mercy and intended to conquer Ternate, Banda, and Solor next. All of this could have been prevented, with relatively little effort, by the five Dutch ships that arrived in the East Indies in good time, had they been equipped in such a fashion as some would have liked. Yet I pray God will send some Dutch ships that will stop the Armada in its tracks and thwart its intentions. Meanwhile, I hope that Your Honors or the Dutch commonwealth will take measures to remedy the situation so that we may not lose the best spice-producing regions.
Some other letters from the port of Macao revealed that two Dutch ships had arrived there in September 1601, I presume from the fleet commanded by Jacob van Neck. The Captain of Macao laid his hands on its sloop and longboat, including seventeen sailors, who were strung up in cold blood. I was so upset at the news that, if it had not been for the Dutch captives in the Sultanate of Demak and the trading post I wanted to establish at Grissee, I would have hanged our remaining prisoners from the bowsprit in full sight of the Portuguese ashore. I managed to restrain myself, however, for the reasons stated above.
On July 7, the Governess of Grissee informed us that three Portuguese ships had arrived at the port of Tuban. We raised anchor the same night and set course for Tuban in the hope of finding some means to revenge the Macao massacre. Since we lack Dutch warships to keep the enemy in check, we have to do it all ourselves. When we approached the three vessels, however, we discovered that their clove cargoes had become nutmeg loads, and that enemies had changed into friends. They informed me about the current state of the Banda Islands and Ambon, which, in their view, we may well lose if no Dutch ships go over there in the near future. I would give my life and soul for this cause, but I lack the authority and the means to do so. If fifty sailors of the fleet of Wolphert Harmenszoon had been willing to join my crew— the Admiral could easily have done without them—I would have set sail for the Spice Islands immediately in order to engage the Armada. Yet we abandoned our resolution because it did not seem feasible to enlist sailors from the fleet of Wolphert Harmenszoon against their will.
Jacob van Heemskerck and His Council of Naval Officers Resolve to Attack Portuguese Shipping Indiscriminately December 4, 16026
After anchoring at the island of Tiuman on December 3, Admiral Jacob van Heemskerck calls a meeting of the Council and points out the fine opportunity at hand to damage our public enemies within twenty or twenty-five days. Both the Japan carrack and the ship belonging to the Captain of Malacca, along with two other smaller vessels or junks, will come down together from Macao, situated in China, all very richly laden. We can do no greater harm or damage to our public enemy in the entire East Indies than to pull out this flight feather.
It is indeed a matter of great urgency to preserve the East Indies trade and keep the public enemy in check, lest the latter continue with his Armada as he has begun, inciting all indigenous kings against us and putting a price on our heads. The Portuguese use all possible means, however evil or godless, for our utter destruction, as shown on various occasions. For example, seventeen men of Van Neck’s crew, who appeared before Macao in a sloop and barge, were captured by them and hanged in cold blood. Still not satisfied, they also seek to extirpate all native peoples who offer us trade and friendship. They would have reduced Bantam with their Armada if it had not been for the Almighty and our Dutch ships. From Bantam they sailed east to lay waste Ambon. They are determined to go to Ternate and Banda next, in order to subdue those places as well, which Heaven forbid, and deny us access to ports and trade all over the East Indies, using force against one indigenous king and threats and intimidation against another.
In view of the above, the Admiral and his Council consider it necessary and desirable to defy the enemy and show the natives that we do not fear Portuguese power. Since, as mentioned above, the Portuguese have tried to uproot us with all possible means, whether directly or indirectly, we will attack and harm them wherever we can or may. At this particular juncture we should indeed be able, God willing, to inflict the greatest damage with the least loss of time. Hence the Admiral and his Council have decided to remain anchored at the island of Tiuman for the whole month of December and await whatever victory the Almighty shall grant us against our public enemy.
Drawn up in the ship White Lion, lying at anchor near the aforesaid island, on December 4, 1602. Signed by Jacob van Heemskerck, Jan Pauwels, Hendrick Cornelis, and Pieter Stockmans.
Jacob van Heemskerck to the Directors of the United Amsterdam Company August 27, 16037
Honorable and Distinguished Sirs,
Please accept my hearty greetings and best wishes. This communication serves to update you on what has happened during our voyage. My previous letter was entrusted to Jacob van Neck, who left Patani with both his ships on August 22, 1602, sailing in the company of two Indiamen from Zeeland. After his departure, we arranged for merchant Daniel van Lecq to take over my excess trade goods as well as his, which seemed in the Company’s best interest. Broadly similar commodities were to be sold en masse and their proceeds shared between the two voyages. Disparate trade goods like our lead and sandalwood and Van Neck’s treasure were to be bartered for pepper first, then amalgamated with the proceeds of the aforesaid commodities and shipped home, unless Your Honors should provide for them differently.
We built a nice, big house in Patani and surrounded it with a big ditch in order to safely store our trade goods and protect them from fire. The ditch would not have been necessary if the house had been made of stone. Although preferable, this would have been difficult to achieve, however. The Portuguese sought to persuade the local authorities that our notion of a stone house was so comprehensive as to include a fortress. Yet the inhabitants of Patani did not believe them because we enjoyed greater credit and favor.
When we left Patani with both our ships and a yacht on November 16, 1602, our cargo consisted of one thousand bahars of pepper at thirty ryals per bahar, approximately eighty last of rice, textiles worth four thousand or five thousand ryals, some porcelain and copper, and ten thousand or eleven thousand ryals in cash.8 Our intention was to sail to Banda in order to load as much nutmeg and mace as possible. We already imagined shooting the proverbial popinjay in case of success, as seemed entirely probable. Yet we anchored with our ships and yacht near the island of Tiuman, where we discussed the opportunity at hand and how best to seize it. Since we could spare a month without endangering our voyage to the Banda Islands and since we ran no risks except for the danger posed to our persons and ships by our enemies, we decided to tarry there until January 1, 1603, in the expectation of divine blessing. We had every hope of encountering a richly laden carrack from Macao according to the information we received from the Patani authorities, the Prince of Siak, brother of the King of Johore,9 the Portuguese prisoners aboard our ships, and other people we met in Jortan and elsewhere. Every year the first of the aforesaid carracks calls on the island between December 20 and 31, and then sets course for the Strait of Singapore.
On December 18, 1602, a small Portuguese vessel, which had come from Cochin China, anchored to the windward of us near the aforesaid island. Believing it to have arrived from China proper, we did our utmost to capture the vessel in order to obtain reliable information about the Macao carrack. Since adverse winds made it impossible for us to approach it, we sent a letter demanding the vessel’s surrender, in exchange for a promise not to harm its crew. They were willing to accept the ultimatum, but desired better guarantees for their safety. To that purpose they deputed Mattys D’Olivera, a man from Hamburg who had lived in Asia for fifteen years. He conveyed to us a copy of the vessel’s bill of lading and a letter from its captain, requesting confirmation of our promises. After we had sent him back, we came alongside the Portuguese vessel in the evening. Since it was already dark, we decided to wait until the morning before proceeding any further. Thus it happened that, it being a dark, rainy night, almost the entire Portuguese crew gave us the slip and departed in a longboat, carrying along a jar of camphor and two or three thousand ryals of eight in both silver and gold. Their conscience must have told them that they were not worthy of our word of honor, as they had not kept faith with our men at Macao. Several hours after their departure, the blacks who had been left behind called out to our men in a sloop nearby, alerting them to the fact that the Portuguese had fled and beseeching them to take possession of the vessel, lest it be boarded by the inhabitants of Tiuman. We immediately complied with their request and spent the rest of the time unloading the vessel and refurbishing it. In addition, our men held watch day and night at a certain island suitable for that purpose. We were even so vain as to assure ourselves that the coveted bird would not fly the coop.
Although our resolution had expired, we received encouraging news from the inhabitants of Tiuman and the crews of the proas that arrived daily from the port of Pahang, some of whom had been in Malacca only the week before. They informed us that no ships from Macao had passed by and that the Captain of Malacca, who was aware of our intention to intercept the carracks, had already lost his nerve, saying that his ship no longer belonged to him but to the Hollanders. The Hamburg prisoner provided us with valuable information as well. He had traveled from Goa to Malacca in the Captain’s ship, which had been accompanied by a second, brand-new carrack. Both ships were expected to return soon, as it had never happened in the history of the Macao voyage that carracks bound for Goa had stayed the winter in China. Our resolution to intercept the Macao carrack was extended for another month, also because we decided against buying mace at Banda and planned to load pepper at Johore instead. Since our trading capital increased with ten thousand or twelve thousand ryals taken from the Cochin China vessel, we had ample means to obtain a cargo of pepper at Johore or Patani, where the vessel’s rice, treasure, textiles, and forty bahars of aloes would be in high demand.
Meanwhile, the young King of Johore had been informed about our intention to intercept the Macao carrack—some proa had spotted our ships near Tiuman. In spite of the adverse monsoon winds, he immediately dispatched one of his noblemen in a proa or foist, who delivered the King’s letter and offered me a golden dagger on his behalf. The King wrote that he had received my letters and presents sent from Jortan, along with my communications from Patani. He also acknowledged the great honors done to his brother, the Prince of Siak, when the latter paid a visit to our ships at Patani. He was disappointed that we had not called on his harbors yet, contrary to the intentions expressed in our letters, but put the blame on our pilot. He was pleased at the news that we were lying in wait for the Macao carrack near the island of Tiuman, and wished we had already captured it. Yet he argued that his river was the best place to await it, as all carracks must pass through the Strait of Singapore. Even if they should try to pass the Strait by night, which was impossible, they could never do so without being observed from the river. He added that open war had broken out between him and Malacca three months earlier due to some recent nuisance caused by the Portuguese, along with the many old and new injuries which the Portuguese had daily inflicted upon him and his subjects, regarding them as little more than dogs. When the Portuguese in Malacca became aware of our correspondence, they had positively ordered him not to befriend the Dutch, saying the Dutch were all thieves, intent upon conquering his kingdom under the pretext of friendship. If he contravened their orders, he would be considered an enemy. In reply, the King had denied ever hearing anything bad about the Dutch, who traded in the friendliest manner with the inhabitants of every place they visited. He had furthermore told the Portuguese not to meddle in the affairs of his kingdom, prescribing with whom he could or could not engage in trade. As a result, three Portuguese warships—one whereof was first captured and then released by the English—and four or five foists had been stationed near Johore Head, where they awaited the aforesaid ships from Macao in order to convoy them to Malacca. They had inflicted as much damage as they could and prevented others from navigating freely upon his river. The King assured me that I would not encounter just the Macao carracks, but vessels from every corner of the earth if I went there. In addition, I would earn myself a great reputation with the victory that he already ascribed to me, saying the Portuguese tremble at the mention of your name, while heaping many other praises on Maurice of Nassau, which would take too long to recount here.
The King’s letter, along with the presents received from his ambassador, gave us food for thought. Indeed, we hardly knew what to think of it. On the one hand, we considered how near Johore was to Malacca and how detrimental it must be to the Portuguese to be at war with Johore if ships from Holland should call there year round, like at Bantam. On this assumption, the Portuguese would never break the peace with the King of Johore, but rather do everything to keep it, promising him the moon, undoubtedly. We took into account that the King of Johore might feign friendship in order to take his revenge upon us for capturing one of his subjects’ junks in Japara harbor the previous year. There was also a possibility that it might all be a Portuguese plot to lure us from Tiuman to the foul ground off Johore. After our departure, the King of Pahang could easily be persuaded by Portuguese bribes to send his proas to Tiuman and instruct the Macao carracks to remain anchored there. On the other hand, we were inclined to give credence to the King of Johore because of the great grievances which the aforesaid Malay rulers nursed against the Portuguese, especially the King of Johore, not to mention the profits which he could reap from our trade and navigation. After deliberation, we decided not to turn down the ambassador’s invitation to come to Johore, but explain to him that we did not dare to leave Tiuman yet. If the Macao carracks anchored at the island after our departure, its inhabitants might inform the Portuguese about our new location at Johore, which would undoubtedly induce the latter to stay there. We asked the ambassador to give us another twenty days, to which he consented, seeing he could not persuade us otherwise.
We trusted the Johorese ambassador better after he had stayed with us for a few days. I proposed to send the foist back to Johore carrying my own envoy and my letters for the King, provided he would leave one man behind as a hostage, to which he agreed immediately. While he remained aboard my ship with five or six of his attendants, I dispatched Pieter Opmeer and a sailor to Johore in order to thank the King for his presents and friendship and assure him that I believed every word he had written to us. They were to explain, however, that I could not come to Johore until I was sure that the Macao carracks would not winter at Tiuman after my departure from thence. In addition, Pieter Opmeer received instructions to discreetly inquire about the King’s relations with the Portuguese, the price of rice at Johore, and the quantity of pepper marketed there. He was to send me his report promptly, borrowing a foist from the King if necessary, and include in it any information he might obtain about the Portuguese warships that blockaded Johore River.
The month of January passed without the occurrence of anything noteworthy, except for the daily reports from Malacca, arriving via Pahang, that no carracks from Macao had passed yet. This left us no choice but to extend our resolution first for ten days, then for six, and finally for four days at a time. Then, on February 18, an inhabitant of Tiuman came aboard the vice-admiral and alleged that he had seen a ship with sails made of tarpaulin, which passed the island to the seaward that morning, towing a longboat. Since the man’s story was not particularly convincing and since we trusted our own sentries, we did not give him any credence. When local leaders confirmed the news two days later, we still could not believe it and considered it a ruse to lure us away from the island before the carrack’s arrival. Then, on February 22, we received letters from Pieter Opmeer by means of the King’s foist and learned from its crew that the first Macao carrack had passed them on their way to Tiuman. Anticipating the second ship to give the island a wide berth as well and realizing that the time had come to make our voyage, we immediately weighed anchor and set sail for Johore, where we arrived at the river mouth on the evening of the twenty-fourth. Both the King and Pieter Opmeer informed us that the first Macao carrack had safely passed the Strait of Singapore five days earlier.
At the crack of dawn on February 25, we saw with our own eyes that waking up early, keeping a close watch, and running fast availed us nothing without the blessing of the Almighty. He heard our prayers while we were asleep in order that we might not pride ourselves on our own accomplishments. Right in front of us was the second Macao carrack, a brand-new ship of 800 last. After we had carefully prepared ourselves, we hauled anchor at approximately 8 a.m. and approached the carrack, which set sail as well. All day long we pounded the carrack with both our ships, though we tried to aim for the mainsails, lest we destroy our booty by means of our own cannonades. At about 6:30 p.m., when the sun was setting and its mainsails had been shot to rags, a white flag was hoisted on the carrack. I sent over a sloop and demanded its surrender, whereupon two Portuguese came aboard my ship to negotiate terms. They had quite a few demands, in fact, none of which I granted. Finally, since fire and underwater rocks imperiled the carrack, I promised life to its crew and passengers, along with two yachts to take them to Malacca, provided they accepted my offer within one hour. If not, I would resume the battle by the light of the moon. They could figure out themselves what the consequences might be. Should the carrack hit a submerged rock, it would undoubtedly go down with all hands on board. They returned before the passing of the deadline and brought a written statement from the carrack’s captain, who surrendered on the aforesaid terms.
On the morning of the 26th, six or seven Portuguese officers came aboard my ship, whereupon I approached the carrack again with both my ship and the vice-admiral. We transferred its passengers and crew to the two Portuguese yachts as best we could, making a real effort to prevent them from taking along any gold. Yet I fear that we may not have succeeded completely, since there were many people aboard the carrack, including one hundred women, who, for decency’s sake, could not be searched too closely. About seven hundred and fifty souls went aboard the two yachts. According to the carrack’s captain, there were seventy casualties among the passengers and crew. If half the shots that we fired at the mainsails had been aimed any lower, there would have been many more casualties, for the large number of passengers and crew made them an easy target. Indeed, the Portuguese were lucky to encounter us near the Strait and not on the open sea; otherwise we might have done an evil dance out of revenge for their misdeeds at Macao. The Portuguese used a flag of truce to lure the crew of Jacob van Neck ashore and hanged seventeen of them, while Marten Aap and one or two others were sent to Goa. Rumor has it that they are free men now. God grant that it be true. I imagine that if we pull out a flight feather, the Portuguese will change their tune and give us a better deal.
We intended to freight the carrack with pepper purchased in Johore and to unload its cargo of silk into our own ships. Since there was little pepper available in Johore, it being early in the season, and since the monsoon for Bantam was almost spent, we did our utmost to get away. Yet by the time we had freighted the carrack with 180 bahars of pepper, rewarded the King of Johore with a cargo of rice, and brought the prisoners back to Malacca—many of my men went along as guards lest the Malayans kill them—the month of March was gone.
I had agreed with Pieter Opmeer to leave behind the aloes found in the prize from Cochin China, along with thirty-five pieces of textile and several other goods. Seeing these commodities ashore, the King expressed his wish to send ambassadors to the Netherlands, which was granted him. In addition, he insisted that cape merchant Jacob Buys remain at Johore instead of Pieter Opmeer, which put me in a difficult position. I figured that Buys was wanted at Cambay in order to establish a factory there, which is essential for our trade with Southeast Asia. Since our commodities were already ashore and since I had consented to a Johorese embassy, I decided to humor the King on this point as well, also because of the kingdom’s geographical location and commercial potential. It is clearly the most suitable place in all of the East Indies to load pepper and sell textiles from Cambay and San Thomé. Yet I had to use all my persuasive powers in order to convince Jacob Buys, who preferred to go home and share in the booty of the Santa Catarina. He will receive . . . guilders10 for every month that he oversees the sale of the trade goods stored at Johore, to which I added more cash and commodities afterwards. Jacob Honing and the son of Jong, the burgomaster of Dordrecht, stayed with him at Johore as well, along with three sailors. If everything goes well, I expect them to collect nine hundred or a thousand bahars of pepper, weighing four picol each, not the Jambi kind, but the Andryghery, which is equal in quality to Aceh pepper.
On April 3, we set course for Bantam with our three vessels. Both the Johorese ambassador and his retinue were on board, the ambassador being a fine young man from an eminent noble family. We battled against contrary monsoon winds on our way to Bantam, which were especially dangerous for the carrack. We experienced a serious setback when we had completed two-thirds of the journey. A sloop with a complement of eleven, including Sebastiaan Hogheveer, approached some proas that we believed to be from Bantam in order to hear the latest news and obtain information about the depth of the water. Because of a navigation failure, the sloop and its crew were captured before our eyes by the proas, which were local pirates. May the Almighty have mercy on the souls of these eleven men and grant them salvation. We safely arrived at Bantam, praise be to God, with both the carrack and our two ships on June 20. We encountered Admiral Wybrandt van Warwyck at Bantam, along with six of his ships. He has supplied us with many things that we needed for the carrack, especially ropes and cordage. With God’s help, we intend to tow the carrack and bring it home, drawing not more than twenty-three or twenty-four feet of water in order to navigate the ocean in a secure fashion. Since we plan to arrive in the United Provinces at the height of summer, around the month of June, we should appreciate it greatly if you could inform us where you want the carrack delivered. Here is one Van de Tissens, a pilot from the village of Huysduynen, who proposes to tow it into the Spanish Hole while drawing twenty-four feet of water. Hence it is imperative to have Your Honors’ opinion on this matter sooner rather than later.
According to the Portuguese, the carrack received a cargo at Macao consisting of 2,000 picol of silk, 400 or 500 chests of silk velour, 500 pounds of aloes, 500 pounds of white granulated sugar, 500 pounds of tutenagh (an ore from which the Chinese make copper coins), lots of pockwood and radish (enough to fill a ship of 30 or 40 last), 500 pounds of red and yellow copper (both processed and unprocessed), 100 picol of camphor, a big chest filled with 300 pounds of musk balls, and 4 grosses of fine China, along with a great quantity of gilded woodwork in the shape of coaches, tables, and other things. Yet there were many other goods on board of which we have not been told yet and of which we may never have any knowledge in our lifetime. We transferred from the carrack into our ship 1,834 bales of silk, including 250 bales of raw silk, 150 barrels of camphor, 540 packs of sugar, and 74 chests of silk velour and aloes. The tutenagh, serving as ballast, was stowed both underneath and upon the dunnage and properly trimmed with bags of pepper. We also have nine or ten packs of porcelain on board. The vice-admiral took in 1,150 bales of silk, 646 packs of sugar, weighing approximately 2 picol each, 226 chests of aloes and silk velour, and 4 barrels of camphor. What still remains in the carrack is Your Honors’ guess as well as mine. I laid my hands on 138 bars of gold, each weighing 0.75 pound, whereof I send Your Honors three samples, one in each ship, along with the other commodities, which are listed in the enclosed specification. I am keeping the other ingots in order to purchase pepper cargoes for our ships.
I also entrust to Captain Meerman a packet of letters and bills for Your Honors, which reveal just how important and profitable the China trade is for the Portuguese. It is imperative for us to enter this trade, in particular because the United Dutch East India Company has just been established and chartered for twenty years. It would be desirable if Your Honors sent the three best ships of the fleet of the spring of 1603 to China, carrying all the fleet’s bullion, and instructed the other vessels to fetch home any remaining merchandise. However much money is imported into China, it will always go to good use if spent on trade goods. A ship of four hundred last will not be sufficient for the large amounts of pepper that we expect to be bought on our account at Johore and Patani. Indeed, it will take a ship of five hundred last to collect the merchandise and bullion that the fleets of Jacob van Neck and the Zeeland Company left at Patani. Look at how much bullion and trade goods Van Warwyck’s fleet will leave behind for the purchase of pepper in Bantam and spices in the Moluccas and Banda Islands. According to the latest news from the Banda Islands, mace costs forty ryals of eight per bahar this year, and nutmeg four ryals per bahar. In sum, the twenty-year company would do better to invest its money in the China trade, lest we drown ourselves in pepper and spices.
In future, we should not use silver ryals to buy pepper, but textiles from Cambay and San Thomé, which will earn us at least one xeraphine in all the pepper marts and be much more profitable than payment in ryals.11 The natives do not wear ryals of eight around their necks, nor can they clothe themselves with silver coins, as both the Sabandar of Patani and various officials in other ports pointed out to me, saying “bring us textiles and we will declare war on the Portuguese.”
Your Honors should establish a rendezvous in these regions as well. Although Bantam is a suitable place geographically speaking, hefty tolls and the minority of its king make for a badly ordered government, creating many dangers when there are no Dutch ships anchored in its roadstead. Patani must be deemed the most secure of all the pepper marts. Silver is always at a premium in Patani, due to bullion exports to Siam and China. Siam also seems a good market for quite a few of our trade goods. We found the Patani magistrates to be much more sensible than their colleagues in other ports. In our estimation, the town’s only disadvantage is its remote location. Johore would be much more suitable than the other two, certainly with respect to the trade in Indian textiles and the pepper producing regions, which are right at its doorstep. The kingdom is happily situated in the middle of the southern countries that produce diamonds and lapus beser. Yet Malacca surpasses them all: the purse would be safe there from enemy assaults, raging fires, and other hazards, since the Portuguese elite already lives in stone houses and the town itself is ringed by a stone wall. Indeed, it is about time that we force the Portuguese out of Malacca and transfer them to Ceylon, for which we will have the wherewithal if, with God’s help, we arrive home with the carrack.
Since the Almighty has blessed our East Indies trade immeasurably, and let us become friends with so many different nations and kings in so short a time span, we should not pass up the present opportunity. Instead, we must do our utmost to settle our nation in the East Indies and establish both a spiritual and a political commonwealth, placing our hope in God, who will let it blossom and bloom. Truly, we see before our own eyes the great blessings bestowed on the East Indies trade and the progress made within just a few years, as manifested by the friendship of the natives and the astonishment of all our enemies. We are therefore obliged to contribute our mite in the place where the Lord has blessed us and continues to bless us. Oh, may God’s glory be exalted among so many different nations, peoples, and countries by means of the true Protestant religion. Perhaps the Lord will use a small, despised country and nation to work his mighty miracles.
There are two things necessary for the continuation and flourishing of this trade. Our ships should first call upon the ports of Gujarat and Cambay and then visit San Thomé and the Coromandel Coast in order to buy as many textiles as possible, either for money or trade goods. By these means we could not just corner the entire pepper trade, but also obtain many other commodities produced in the southern East Indies. And as far as Dutch settlements are concerned, if we cannot establish ourselves in Malacca, we should do so at Johore, its strategic location being comparable with Malacca’s. Once we control the textile trade at Johore, Malacca will be sufficiently besieged. Nor will the Portuguese dare to sail to China when our ships are stationed at the mouth of the Johore River, allowing us to take over the China and Japan trade. We should not just import the merchandise into the United Provinces, but also sell it along the coast of the northern East Indies, where the Portuguese do a brisk trade with Chinese commodities like spices and other products. Three or four big carracks, along with several small ships and junks, sail from Malacca to Goa every year. I assure Your Honors—indeed, I cannot in good conscience desist from emphasizing—that these two places are the nodal points of the entire East Indies trade: Gujarat and San Thomé to buy textiles, and Malacca or Johore to sell them and establish a rendezvous.
I left Jacob Buys there in order to make sure that Your Honors would receive further information about Johore’s trade and strategic location by means of the first Dutch ships that should call there after us. A solid foundation for Your Honors’ trade can best be laid in the initial stages. It is no mean feat that a United East India Company has been established in our country and that it enjoys a monopoly on the navigation between the East Indies and the Dutch Republic by the virtue of its charter. Yet the hunters who are currently locating the quarry in the East Indies do not deserve to be excluded from the trade as a reward for our hard labors. I hope, however, that you will make a special arrangement for us before the gate is closed entirely.
When I arrived in Bantam, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our Vice Admiral Jean Grenier12 had joined the other ships of our fleet here and that they had all left for Holland on June 10, 1602, richly laden. May the Almighty preserve them and bring them home safely. The bullion and merchandise that they left behind were lost in a fire, with the exception of five hundred ryals of eight. By adding another five hundred ryals, the amount was sufficient to pay ransom for the five prisoners still held at Demak. They are now here with us—praise be to God for their release. It would be desirable if we could also get back the eleven men who were kidnapped only recently. Since their kidnappers have no other objective than to profit by their prisoners, taking them daily to an island under the jurisdiction of the King of Johore in order to sell them there, we trust that Jacob Buys will find a way to pay a ransom for them.
Two Johorese junks carried my letters for Adriaan Schaeck, our man in Grissee, authorizing him to close the factory there and join us at Bantam. When I arrived here, however, I could tell from the contents of his epistles that he had never received mine. I chartered a proa for one hundred ryals of eight and sent new letters to Jortan, ordering him to leave the place and return to Bantam aboard the flagship of Admiral Van Warwyck. In case the vessel was no longer at Jortan, he could freight one or two junks with his stock. We are still waiting for Schaeck, yet fear that he may not arrive any time soon, since we have no idea whether our last letter actually reached him, despite the one hundred ryals paid for its delivery. If the flagship of Admiral Van Warwyck had carried an express order from Your Honors to bring home as much merchandise and as many people as possible, I would have had all my men here already. For I had explicitly told Schaeck to book passage aboard the first Dutch ship that should call at Grissee and that could take home his stock as payload. Since things turned out otherwise, we will have to put up with it and bide our time. We could certainly use him and his staff aboard our ships, but, in their absence, we can only exercise patience. Schaeck’s merchandise was worth approximately forty thousand guilders, which he sold for cash. He may meanwhile have invested the money in a return cargo.
We have freighted our ships with 494,635 pounds of pepper (our weight), whereof we loaded 398,115 pounds at Patani. We used the ingots to purchase 96,520 pounds of pepper at Johore, the price being thirty-nine ryals of eight per bahar of four picol. It is our intention first to load four thousand sacks of pepper here and then to return to Holland, towing the lightly laden carrack. We will leave Bantam in September or the middle of October at the latest and sail in the company of the ships Mauritius and Cleyn Rotterdam. Your Honors can expect us in the month of June or thereabouts, God willing.
The two remaining ships of Jacob van Neck’s fleet were still in Cochin China last November, where a cargo of pepper was obtained for one of them. As a result of Portuguese intrigue, the local ruler assaulted them at their arrival ashore, killing twenty or twenty-two of our men and imprisoning both merchants. The latter were ransomed for one or two thousand ryals of eight and seven iron guns. Once we had reestablished amicable relations with the King, it took our men little time to discover that his friendship was feigned. Cornelis Claessen thereupon went ashore with two or three sloops and put fire to the place, killing several people. Yet we made a good peace with the King, who offered his apologies, saying that the Portuguese had fooled him into believing that the Hollanders were thieves intent upon conquering his kingdom, but that he knew better now. They managed to double the hulls of their ships there. Each vessel had a complement of about forty-five if we may believe the sailor from Hamburg, whom we found aboard the captured junk from Cochin China. The captain and merchants, including Groesberghen, Pieter Lourens, Christopher Williams, and Daen den Knecht, who sailed to China alongside Jacob van Neck, are all still alive. Just before we departed from Johore, we learnt that two Dutch ships had arrived at Patani. These must have been the two vessels from Cochin China. I hope that they will arrive home in the summer of 1604 as well.
Herewith honorable, discreet, and prudent Directors, I commend you into the grace and mercy of the Almighty. May the Lord bestow his blessing on the new company and preserve Your Honors, grant you a long and happy life, and, finally, a peaceful death. Written in the ship White Lion on August 27, 1603, by Your Honors’ servant Jacob Heemskerck.
[In a different hand]
Received on March 17, 1604
Letter from Jacob Heemskerck, dated August 27, 1603, in Bantam
To be put in drawer no. 11
At last, oh most learned of men, we send you the Indian Reports which you have been expecting for a long time. These reports were taken from the captains of the ships themselves, who had to confirm them under oath as well.15 You will clearly understand from them what the Portuguese have attempted against each of the voyages for the purpose of destroying our men. In addition, you will derive from them countless proofs of perfidy, tyranny, and hostility suitable to your apology. We trust that your apology, begun so felicitously, will be completed in a short while thanks to your attentiveness. The letters of Peter Plancius, the privateering commissions, and other documents if necessary will be delivered to you at the first opportunity, as will those that your affection should subsequently demand from us, you to whom we offer every service with the greatest pleasure.16
Your commentary on our country’s history pleased me wondrously and sparked a desire in me to read the first part as well. I beg you to grant my request, by virtue of your benevolent disposition toward me. Contact me, I beseech you, by means of your most welcome letters if you know something about the illness of our Wtenbogaard and the death of Dousa, the father of learning. Indicate as well whether you have received this book, and notify me if you hear something new from Baudius about France or England. We heard that he had given a most elaborate oration in England in defense of our country and that he was already on the way home.
My brother greets you, along with the other Amsterdam directors, who entrust to you the defense of this case, as I commend you to God Almighty. May He keep and preserve you for the sake of our fatherland and republic. Farewell, my most humane Grotius, and love your Grootenhuys as he loves you. I wrote this on October 15, 1604.
Addressee: The Honorable, Wise, and Very Prudent Hugo Grotius, lawyer accredited with the Provincial Court of Holland, boarding with Miss F. Flori on Spui street. Enclosures: one book.
Hugo Grotius noted on the reverse side of the letter:
the verdict of the Admiralty Court
the edict of the Estates of Holland
obtain from Plancius the titles of such books on Portuguese trade in the East Indies as may be purchased here
Jan ten Grootenhuys to Hugo Grotius October 20, 160417
We hope that you have received those documents pertaining to the Indies trade that I recently sent to you. For the present we enclose the edict of the Estates of Holland, and the sworn statement of Mr. Apius, along with the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court. The day after tomorrow, God willing, we will send you the rest, wherein I will write to you at length. Meanwhile, good-bye, written by him who is most devoted to you.
Grotius noted on the reverse side of the letter:
the placard of the Estates General edict
the instructions mentioned by them
. .. .. .. ..
. .. .. .. ..
map of the East Indies
the location of the carrack’s capture and a description of its seizure
placards and extracts from the instructions with regard to the prize
map of the East Indies
Petition of the United Dutch East India Company Drafted by Hugo Grotius Submitted to the Estates General on March 4, 160618
To the Right Honorable Members of the Estates General of the United Provinces
With all due respect, the directors of the United Dutch East India Company would like to remind Your Honors that you admonished them on several occasions to instruct the VOC fleets to do as much damage to the enemy as possible, including the persons, ships, and goods of his subjects. It was Your Honors’ argument that the petitioners might otherwise not maintain their trade with honor or even increase it, adding that this was the principal reason for Your Honors to establish the United Dutch East India Company and authorize its offensive war against the Portuguese. Your Honors undoubtedly realized that it would greatly benefit the common cause not just to protect a trade against enemy violence, which is of great importance for the welfare of the common people, but also to deny the King of Spain his revenues from the East Indies. After all, these revenues give him the wherewithal to ruin and destroy these provinces. In addition, any damage done to the enemy in the East Indies would give Your Honors occasion to undertake many more military and naval expeditions outside of these provinces, all to the detriment of the enemy.
Since they cared deeply for the fatherland and Your Honors’ government, the petitioners took this serious admonition to heart and equipped their ships for warfare, which is not customary for merchants and cost the Company a great deal of money. The officers of the VOC fleets were commanded to do all possible damage to Philip III and his subjects. When Steven van der Haghen sailed in December 1603 with his fleet of twelve ships, he carried with him secret instructions suggesting ways to inflict great harm on the common enemy, both at sea and on land, all for the benefit and honor of these provinces. The secret instructions were communicated to some representatives of Your Honors, who, we trust, read them with great satisfaction. Indeed, the secret instructions have already borne fruit in the waters around Mozambique and Goa, where Steven van der Haghen has made himself master of the sea and pushed back the Portuguese with superior ability. It impresses upon the natives that the Dutch have sufficient prowess and courage not just to protect themselves and their allies from Spanish violence, but also to attack the Portuguese in their own strongholds. Cornelis Matelief, who sailed last year in command of eleven ships, received the same instructions, which, we hope, will result in similar or greater successes.
Yet it is becoming more difficult and expensive for the Company to implement this policy. The petitioners have learned the hard way that it is nearly impossible for private merchants to wage war against such a powerful public enemy without government subsidies. Hence they will abort their offensive unless they receive special assistance from Your Honors. They consider this demand neither unreasonable nor unfair because the war in the East Indies strengthens the Republic’s reputation abroad, disadvantages its enemies, and benefits the federal government by means of taxes levied on booty and imported and exported goods. Several petitions were submitted to Your Honors to this purpose, along with various other requests. Your Honors admonished the petitioners on February 26, 1605, to manfully pursue their praiseworthy policy, and to protect the East Indies trade from Iberian intimidation and harassment, while doing the King of Spain and his subjects all possible damage. Due to the departure of some provincial deputies, as well as for other reasons, Your Honors deemed it inadvisable to entertain the requests that had been submitted along with the petition. Yet Your Honors also decided that, for the purpose of implementing and furthering the aforesaid praiseworthy policy, the petitioners should enjoy the benefit of a previous resolution of the Estates General, which assigned them two ships, along with their sails, anchors, cordage, and cannons. In addition, the petitioners received assurances that the Estates General would continue to support the VOC offensive in the East Indies and show them all favor, goodwill, and accommodation. Yet the petitioners never enjoyed the full benefit of the promised assistance, au contraire. Instead of receiving two fully armed warships, they were fobbed off with an unrigged vessel.
There is another problem as well. Because of their large equipages, the previous voyages have cost the Company nearly all its capital. After the departure of the eight ships commanded by Pauwels van Caerden, which are fitted out right now, there will be only five hundred thousand guilders left in the Company’s war chest, barely enough to outfit two ships and a yacht for next year.19 As for the return cargoes that we expect in the near future, nearly all of them belong to the fleet of fourteen ships commanded by Wybrandt van Warwyck, little remaining for the ten-year Company. In any case, we probably will not be able to use the proceeds of the return cargoes in the way we did before. For the VOC directors may well decide that the fleets of Van der Haghen and Matelief, along with the third one currently under preparation, carry greater complements and more ammunition and provisions than are strictly necessary for commercial purposes. Instead of these warships, they could have fitted out ten merchantmen for next year, for example.
In consideration of these excessive costs and the great service done to the Republic, Your Honors have not bestowed any extraordinary favors on the petitioners, but been very precise in levying taxes on booty captured at no cost to the country.20 Nor are these tax revenues earmarked for the upkeep and increase of VOC privateering, even though they could hardly be spent on anything more appropriate. This must be disconcerting to the Company’s many shareholders, who consented to the VOC offensive in the East Indies in the expectation of Your Honors’ support. They undoubtedly realize that, provoked by our hostile procedures, the King of Spain will not spare any costs to shore up his position in the East Indies, and that the VOC cannot hope to be victorious without some material support from Your Honors, instead of admonishments and empty promises. Failing Your Honors’ assistance, the VOC shareholders may well waver in their resolution and demand easy and immediate profits, eschewing great costs and dangers by means of a strictly defensive strategy. This could mean the demise of the East Indian navigation, wherein consists the welfare, indeed, the life of so many people, which all serves to invigorate the enemy.
Since Van Caerden’s fleet is ready for departure and in need of instructions, which should include something about federal assistance, the petitioners have considered it necessary to remind Your Honors of their many previous requests. They entreat Your Honors not to mishandle this important affair, but to finally decide on the most suitable means for giving effect to your earlier promises. The most convenient solution would be to assign them the resources that are crucial for waging the war in the East Indies, but do not burden Your Honors financially.
With Your Honors’ permission, and provided His Excellency21 gives his approval as well, we will bring together in an aerarium militare22 all the ships, commodities, ammunition, prisoners’ ransoms, and other kinds of booty captured at the VOC’s expense in the East Indies. We will keep separate accounts for the aerarium militare, and make no disbursements to anyone, nor pay import taxes on East Indian goods. The aerarium militare will be used exclusively for waging war in the East Indies, ransoming Dutch prisoners, and safeguarding the places seized by the Company. If approved by Your Honors, an aerarium militare should result in memorable conquests and put courage into your subjects, who would save no trouble to attack even the most impregnable of fortresses, such as are of great importance to the enemy and will be even more so to Your Honors. These feats will be testimony to the fact that federal funds can nowhere be spent better for the honor, reputation, and benefit of the Republic and the enemy’s evident ruination than in the East Indies. The petitioners trust that Your Honors will easily see the merits of this proposal, which will be of greater benefit to the common cause than to the petitioners themselves. While Your Honors would relinquish the fifth share of all booty taken in the East Indies, and His Excellency the thirtieth part, the petitioners should be content to contribute their four-fifths share to the war against Spain, which they could otherwise have invested in trade, yielding immediate and predictable profits. There would be one condition, however. The hostilities should serve the purpose of protecting this notable navigation and trade. The petitioners are perfectly willing to give Your Honors and His Excellency the opportunity to inspect the accounts of the aerarium militare once in a while. In addition, the petitioners would be happy to keep Your Honors and His Excellency informed about East Indian affairs. If the capture of several richly laden prizes should allow for some disbursements, after subtraction of the costs involved and the contribution to the aerarium militare, the petitioners will immediately provide Your Honors and His Excellency with the fifth and thirtieth shares of the booty, respectively.
May it please Your Honors to respond favorably to their petition or otherwise to depute a few members to first ascertain the importance of the issue and then report back to the Estates General, so that the case may finally be disposed of for the good of the country.
Petition or request submitted in March 1606 to the Estates General by the Directors of the East Indian Company.
The little treatise on Indian affairs is complete: but I do not know whether it should be published as it was written or only those parts which pertain to the universal law of war and booty. Many indeed have dealt with this subject both old and new. But I believe that new light can be thrown on the matter with a fixed order of teaching, the right proportion of divine and human law mixed together with the dictates of philosophy.
The Directors of the United Dutch East India Company to the Sultan of Tidore25 Drafted by Hugo Grotius Winter of 1606–726
It is not unknown to Your Majesty that the inhabitants of our Provinces [who are more inclined to commerce than all other peoples] have applied themselves to the East Indian trade for the past couple of years, initially laboring under the aegis of several regional companies. Yet we considered it appropriate to combine these regional companies into a general one [while expressly forbidding our subjects to trade in the East Indies unless employed by the aforesaid united company]. There were good reasons for pooling the resources of the inhabitants of these Provinces, which are so evidently full of ships and people (God be praised). Our purpose was not just to protect ourselves against the Spanish and Portuguese [who have unjustly sought to proscribe free trade throughout the world], but also to be most diligent in liberating East Indian princes and nations from Iberian tyranny. The enemy tyrannized them for many years, in accordance with his nature and habit [which is to incorporate into his empire all earthly power and authority]. Our people have shown great zeal and courage in pursuing this aim. Their efforts have been blessed by the Almighty, who abhors all pride and injustice; witness the various feats set before the eyes of Your Majesty and neighboring nations. For example, they captured the fortress which the Portuguese were [forcibly] occupying in Your Majesty’s country, [which contributed not a little to the safety and security of Your Majesty] [which was the only way to liberate Your Majesty] and your subjects. We are determined to fight on to the bitter end and not to desist before we have the desired result. [To this purpose, we stationed twenty-five warships off the coast of [new] Spain [in order to prevent enemy ships from sailing to the East Indies] in order to prevent the enemy from sending ships to the East Indies and force him to unload the vessels which were ready for departure.] [We have already prepared a [new] similar fleet, which will again be stationed off the enemy’s coast in the coming year.]27
We kindly request that Your Majesty, whose first priority must be the expulsion of our common enemies, be equally steadfast in your resolution. We trust Your Majesty’s wisdom and experience, it being sufficiently known that strife and discord among East Indian princes has always served to strengthen the position of the [Spanish and] Portuguese. But if divided we fall, united we stand. It can hardly be doubted that [the issues] the differences that have arisen between Your Majesty and the King of Ternate and that still continue until this day—to our regret and the enemy’s glee—will hamper the execution of our plans. Since our enemies are still very strong and not very far away, they may well take advantage of the situation. In order to guard against this and prevent private quarrels from endangering public liberty, we really must seriously admonish you, as we did the King of Ternate, to settle the dispute between you and become good allies. We offer Your Majesty all possible assistance and support to this purpose.
There is something else we would like to bring to your attention, Serene Highness. We receive daily reports that several of our neighbors want to try their hand at the East Indies trade, without having the will [or power] to do any harm to the Spanish and Portuguese, with whom they are at peace. The United Company of these Provinces, burdened by the costs of warfare, may suffer great damage as a result of their trade, which, in turn, would allow the enemy to remain lodged in the East Indies, unless some preventive measures are taken. We entreat Your Majesty to attend to this with your customary benevolence and prefer the aforesaid United Company to all others in matters of trade. A fast friendship and military alliance deserve favors from you that are greater than mere unpredictable profits.28 While we expect these favors from you, we will not fail to [show our appreciation] reciprocate and confer similar or greater benefactions on you at every possible occasion. Meanwhile, we wish Your Majesty a long life and prosperous reign.
The Zeeland Directors of the United Dutch East India Company to Hugo Grotius November 4, 160829
Honorable, Wise, Prudent, and Very Distinguished Sir and Friend,
We have always considered it appropriate for the United Company to have the right of navigation—which is competent to the Dutch nation over the whole wide world—thoroughly examined and adduced with rational as well as legal arguments. It would serve to assure the inhabitants of these provinces of the worthiness of the cause, in case some still doubt it, and, more importantly, encourage neighboring princes and monarchs to help defend the nation’s rights. What we deemed opportune in the past currently seems well nigh a necessity because of the peace and truce negotiations.30 Regardless of whether the issue be peace or truce, the talks will have to give due consideration to our trade in the East Indies, along with our conquests and alliances there, which the King of Spain seeks to destroy with all his might. It is imperative to thwart his plans and persuade both our government and neighboring princes to staunchly defend our, as well as the nation’s, rights. Although we were of this opinion already, we received further encouragement from the speech that Jan Boreel, J.D., delivered at our recent meeting.31 He also suggested to us the best means for realizing our intentions, saying that you had already prepared all the material on this topic, which gave us great pleasure.
Since we do not doubt Your Honor’s concern for the welfare of the United Company, we request that Your Honor assist the Company with your labors. Indeed, we trust that Your Honor has already received a similar request from the Amsterdam VOC directors. We ask that you be prompt in order that we may enjoy the benefit during the negotiations and bask in the favor of those who preside over the talks.32
We, along with the directors of the other VOC Chamber in Holland, are extremely obliged to Your Honor for your services.33 Herewith, etc. Dated Middelburg, November 4, 1608.
Honorable, Wise, and Prudent Mr. Hugo de Groot, J.D.
Advocate-Fiscal of Holland, Zeeland, and West Friesland
BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING
Armitage, David. “The Fifty Years’ Rift: Intellectual History and International Relations.” Modern Intellectual History 1 (2004): 97–109.
———. The Ideological Origins of the British Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Brett, Annabel S. “Natural Right and Civil Community: The Civil Philosophy of Hugo Grotius.” Historical Journal 45 (2002): 31–51.
Gelderen, Martin van. “The Challenge of Colonialism: Grotius and Vitoria on Natural Law and International Relations.” Grotiana, n.s., 14–15 (1993–94): 3–37.
Grotius, Hugo. The Free Sea, with William Welwod’s Critique and Grotius’s Reply. Translated by Richard Hakluyt. Edited by David Armitage. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004.
———. The Rights of War and Peace. Edited by Richard Tuck. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005.
Haakonssen, Knud. “Hugo Grotius and the History of Political Thought.” Political Theory 13 (1985): 239–65.
Hugo Grotius and International Relations. Edited by Hedley Bull, Benedict Kingsbury, and Adam Roberts. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.
Keene, Edward. Beyond the Anarchical Society: Grotius, Colonialism and Order in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Pagden, Anthony. “Human Rights, Natural Rights, and Europe’s Imperial Legacy.” Political Theory 31 (2003): 171–99.
Seed, Patricia. Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492–1640. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Tully, James. A Discourse on Property: John Locke and His Adversaries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980.
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[1. ]Hugo Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty (De Jure Praedae Commentarius), eds. Gwladys L. Williams and W. H. Zeydel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), vol. 1: A Translation of the Original Manuscript of 1604 by Gwladys L. Williams, with the collaboration of Walter H. Zeydel, xxvii–xxx.
[2. ]Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:258, 389.
[3. ]Ibid., 1:xxix.
[a. ]Supra, Chaps. xii, xiii, xiv.
[b. ]Supra, Chap. i and beg. of Chap. ii.
[c. ]Dialogues On Justice [Republic, I. p. 352 b–d].
[d. ]III [ passim].
[e. ]On Ends, III [xxi. 71].
[1. ]A very loose paraphrase of Cicero’s actual words: . . . numquam aequitatem ab utilitate posse seiungi, et quidquid aequum iustumque esset id etiam honestum, vicis-simque quidquid esset honestum id iustum etiam atque aequum fore (“. . . that equity can never be disjoined from expediency [i.e. benefit], and that whatever is equitable and just is also honourable, while conversely, whatever is honourable is also just and fair”). Rackham, however, in his translation of the work above cited, points out that the final honestum seems to have been written inadvertently for utile, or else employed in the sense of “held in popular esteem,” and therefore, “profitable.” Interpreted in accordance with Rackham’s note, the substance of Cicero’s argument is accurately reproduced by Grotius.
[a. ]Letter of Cassius to Cicero, in Cicero, Letters to his Friends, XV. xix.
[b. ]Arist., Rhetoric, I. vi [6–7] and ibid. ix [1–7].
[c. ]Dig. I. iv. 2.
[d. ][Homer, Iliad, III. 65.]
[e. ]End of Chap. xiv, supra, p. 459.
[a. ]Arist., Rhetoric, I. viii [1–2].
[b. ]Dig. XIV. i. 1, § 20.
[c. ]Dig. L. vi. 5, § 3; add ibid. xi. 2.
[2. ]Apparently some negative phrase was inadvertently omitted from the Latin at this point. Hamaker appends the words dubitari nequit (it is impossible to deny) at the close of the sentence.
[a. ]Jeremiah [Isaiah], xxiii. 8.
[a. ]Isaiah, xxiii, at end.
[3. ]Grotius’s paraphrase of the passage cited from Isaiah is so worded that the translator has thought it advisable here to adopt in part the language of the Douay version of the Bible, although the King James version is followed throughout the present translation in all direct quotations from the Scriptures.
[4. ]Societatis: this term may refer to various types of association, but it seems probable that Grotius has in mind here the fairly common connotation, “copartnership, or traders’ association.”
[a. ]De Jure Belli, at beg. [n. 1, proof 5].
[a. ][On Duties, passim.]
[b. ][Treatise on Duty.]
[5. ]De Vtili, “concerning that which is Expedient,” or “Useful,” or “Beneficial.” For the sake of consistency, the term “beneficial” is kept throughout the translation of this chapter wherever Grotius employs utilis in presenting his own argument. Nevertheless, no single English term is a satisfactory equivalent for all connotations of utilis, and it is not always feasible to adhere to such a rigid rule of consistency in translating Grotius’s references to the works of other authors.
[c. ]Rhetoric, 1. vi [I. vii. 18].
[d. ][Virgil, Aeneid, II. 105.]
[6. ]From the speech of Sinon, who persuaded his Trojan captors that vengeance executed upon him would be injurious to their own cause since it would be pleasing to their enemies, Ulysses (the Ithacan) and the brothers Agamemnon and Menelaus (the sons of Atreus).
[a. ]Cicero, On the Manilian Law [iv. 9].
[7. ]Binis copiis [hostium]. Owing to the omission of hostium (hostile), Grotius’s phrase is rather ambiguous, and could be translated “with twofold forces [of their own],” were it not for the fact that Cicero, in the passage cited, specifically refers to “hostile forces.”
[a. ]Florus [Epitome of Roman History, II. xxxiv].
[b. ]Pliny, Nat. Hist. VI. xxii [VI. xxiv. 84].
[8. ]Taprobane, the name employed by Grotius himself to designate Sumatra, but generally interpreted as referring to Ceylon in the passage cited here from Pliny. For the significance of Taprobane in other passages of the Commentary, see notes on pp. 14, 263, 307–8, and 335, supra. Cf. also, note 10, p. 473.
[9. ]Commeatus, which could also be translated as “free passage,” “convoys,” or “transportation.” Damsté’s Dutch translation, which should carry special weight in passages referring to Dutch history, has proviand (“provisions,” “supplies”).
[10. ]Celonem: apparently Grotius always uses some form of this name when he intends to refer to Ceylon. Taprobanem, in the same sentence, obviously refers not to Ceylon but to Sumatra, as in every other instance throughout the Commentary where Grotius is neither quoting from nor paraphrasing some other author. See note 8, supra, and other notes therein cited.
[a. ][Virgil, Aeneid, I. 750.]
[a. ][The Histories, I. lxviii.]
[11. ]The famous Armada of 1588.
[12. ]Probably another reference to the “Battle of the Dunes,” fought in July 1600, at Nieuwpoort, a town of West Flanders. This battle resulted in a great victory for Maurice of Nassau over the Spanish forces.
[a. ]Arist., Rhetoric, I. vi [.26].
[a. ]In Stobaeus, Florilegium, LII [LIV. 41].
[13. ]I.e., capable of being despoiled by the weakest of nations. The inhabitants of Mysia (an ancient geographical division of Asia Minor) were held in such contempt for their effeminacy that the Greeks frequently expressed scorn for a given person by saying, “He’s the lowest of the Mysians.” (Cf. Cicero, Pro Flacco, xxvii. 65.)
[a. ]Joh. Metal [or Matal] in Pref. to Osorio [History of Emmanuel, p. 20].
[a. ]Propertius, Elegies, IV. vi [47 ff.].
[b. ][Demosthenes, For the Liberty of the Rhodians, 11, p. 193.]
[a. ][Plutarch, Alexander.]
[14. ]Cf. the reference to this Decree on p. 458, supra.
[b. ]Joh. Metal [or Matal] in Pref. to Osorio [History of Emmanuel, passim].
[a. ]Elegies, III. iii [III. iv. 21].
[a. ]I [vii. 21].
[a. ]VI [xxxvi].
[b. ][Ibid.] VIII [x].
[a. ]In Frag. [Dion. of Hal., Selections on Embassies, p. 10.]
[b. ]Ibid. [, p. 18].
[a. ]Lucan [The Civil War], VII .
[15. ]The Latin text at this point (line 3 from bottom of collotype p. 160) is a little confused because an alteration introduced here by Grotius was not completely carried out. The word ex obviously should have been deleted when eo was deleted, and the immediately preceding non has been left rather far from the phrase which it now modifies. In the English translation, the sentence is treated as if Grotius’s correction had been completed; that is to say, ex is not translated, and the negative force of non is transferred to the following quod-clause.
[a. ]See in discussion of Concl. VII, Art. III, Pt. I, Chap. viii, supra, pp. 155 ff. Lupus, De Bello, § Si bene advertas; Matthaei [De Bello] in Req. 1, at end; [Trovamala,] Summa Rosella, on word bellum, n. 6.
[16. ]The Latin phrase manum ex iure conserere (to make a joint seizure) was used to describe the ceremony in which various litigants laid hands simultaneously upon a disputed possession, each claiming it for his own.
[a. ]Dig., XLVIII. iv. 4.
[a. ]Bartolus. On Dig. XXIV. iii. 2, n. 17; Doctors, On Dig. XII. vi. 38.
[b. ]See in discussion of Coroll. II, Chap. viii, supra, p. 147; Vict. De Jure Belli, 33.
[c. ]Institutes, II. vi. 2.
[a. ]Sylvester, on word bellum [Pt. I] x. ; Lupus, § Si bene advertas; Matthaei, De Bello, in Req. 1, at end.
[17. ]Brevi . . . manu: more specifically, “directly from the hand [of the person preceding me as owner].”
[b. ]Genesis, xiv, at end.
[c. ]Numbers, xxxi. 53.
[a. ]Deuteronomy, xxiii. 18.
[b. ]To Claudius against Julian, V. viii [in Letters, ccvii].
[c. ]Seneca, On Benefits, V. xii ; Dig. L. xvii. 54.
[18. ][[Grotius failed to append the documents in question to the manuscript of Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, currently in Leiden University Library. These are reproduced in English translation in appendix I of the Liberty Fund edition—M. J. van Ittersum.]]
[1. ]The Dutch original was published in The Hague in April 1599 at the behest of the federal government of the Dutch Republic. A transcription of this document may be found in appendix B of Hugo Grotius, De Jure Praedae Commentarius/Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), vol. 1: A Translation of the Original Manuscript of 1604 by Gwladys L. Williams, 371–75.
[2. ]That is, the federal government of the Dutch Republic—the modern-day Kingdom of the Netherlands has the same borders as the United Provinces after 1648.
[3. ]The title of Holy Roman Emperor could not be inherited. Instead, three bishops and four secular princes, known collectively as the Electors, voted on the succession at the Diet of the German Estates. The Electors were mighty territorial princes in Germany in their own right.
[4. ]The Holy Roman Empire (modern-day Germany).
[5. ]The German city of Cologne.
[6. ]Philip III of Spain and Portugal (r. 1598–1621).
[7. ]Archduchess Isabella of Austria (1566–1633) was the daughter of Philip II of Spain and Portugal. She governed the Spanish Netherlands together with her husband, Archduke Albert of Austria, from 1598 until 1621, while serving as regent for her nephew Philip IV from 1621 until her death in 1633.
[9. ]Queen Elizabeth I of England (r. 1559–1603).
[10. ]Maurice of Nassau (1567–1625) was the second son of William the Silent, one of the instigators of the Dutch Revolt against Spain. Maurice succeeded his elder brother as Prince of Orange in 1618. After his father’s assassination, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Dutch army and navy. In addition, he held the political office of Stadtholder (“governor”) of the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland.
[12. ]Archduke Albert of Austria (1559–1621) governed the Spanish Netherlands from 1596 until 1621, first on behalf of his uncle, Philip II of Spain, and then in his own right. His wife, the Infanta Isabella, was made joint sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands by the king’s last will and testament.
[13. ]An employee of the Dutch Admiralty Board, charged with collecting the so-called convoyen and licenten, the import and export duties levied by the Estates General.
[14. ]Five hundred Dutch guilders, or fifty pounds sterling.
[15. ]The Dutch Admiralty Board consisted of five “colleges,” viz. Amsterdam, South Holland (Rotterdam), the North Quarter (jointly at Hoorn and Enkhuizen), Zeeland (Middelburg), and Friesland (Dokkum).
[16. ]“as an example to others”
[17. ]Maurice of Nassau, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland, and his cousin Count Willem Lodewijk of Nassau (1560–1620), Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen.
[18. ]The standing committees of the provincial Estates, which took care of day-to-day government in each of the seven provinces.
[19. ]The Hague.
[20. ]Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547–1619) served as the Advocate of Holland and political leader of the Dutch Republic from 1586 until his death. He drafted almost all the resolutions adopted by the Estates of Holland and Estates General.
[21. ]Cornelis Aerssen (1545–1627) was the clerk of the Estates General from 1584 until 1621.
[22. ]A notarized copy of the Dutch original may be found in the Dutch National Archives, Staten Gen. 12551.21 (Loketkas Processen nr. 21), unfoliated. My English translation is based on this notarized copy.
[23. ]The Advocate-Fiscal of Holland could be considered the province’s public prosecutor. He was a plaintiff nomine officii.
[24. ]The United Amsterdam Company.
[25. ]The Admiralty Court imposed an interdiction on the carrack and its cargo at the request of the plaintiffs, viz. the Advocate-Fiscal of Holland, Van Heemskerck, and the United Amsterdam Company. The judges summoned all those who had a claim to the carrack and its cargo to appear in court within six weeks, on pain of being found guilty of contumacy. Since nobody presented himself, the Admiralty Court confiscated the Santa Catarina for the benefit of the plaintiffs.
[26. ]Maurice of Nassau in his capacity as Lord High Admiral of Holland and Zeeland.
[27. ]The Vice-Admiral in question was Jean Grenier, commander of the Black Lion. Due to the naval battle off the Canaries, the Black Lion was separated from the rest of Van Heemskerck’s fleet and continued its eastward journey all alone. Ironically, it was the only ship to reach the fleet’s projected destination, the port of Aceh on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The journal of Reyer Cornelisz, pilot of the Black Lion, was recently published in Dutch in Peper, Plancius en porselein: de reis van het schip “Swarte Leeuw” naar Atjeh en Bantam, ed. Jan Parmentier, Karel Davids, and John Everaert (Zutphen, The Netherlands: Walburg Press, 2003).
[28. ]The resolution of the States Assembly of Holland was published in the Register van Holland en Westvriesland, 1604–1606, p. 217. It appears as “Decretum Ordinum Hollandiae” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:379–80. My English translation is based on that text.
[29. ]The United Dutch East India Company, or VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie).
[30. ]A case in point was the resolution of the Estates General of November 1, 1603, which reminded the VOC directors that all possible damage should be done to the common enemy in the East Indies, so as to maintain and increase the company’s trade “with honor.” See Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal, 1579–1609, ed. N. Japikse and Ha. H. P. Rijperman, vol. 12, 1602–1603 (RGP 92) (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1950), 631. See p. 422 of the present volume.
[31. ]The United Dutch East India Company, or VOC, was a joint venture of various Holland and Zeeland trading companies. Since Oldenbarnevelt conceived of the VOC as the new military arm of the Dutch Republic, it was he who summoned the merchants to The Hague in the winter of 1601–2 and presided over their protracted negotiations. His strenuous efforts resulted in the famous VOC charter, approved by the Estates General on March 20, 1602.
[32. ]The Union of Utrecht (1579), the constitution of the Dutch Republic, stipulated that all matters relating to the “common defense” were the exclusive preserve of the Estates General. The resolution of the Estates of Holland cleared the way for the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court of September 9, 1604.
[33. ]Dom João Ribeiro Gaio, Bishop of Malacca (r. 1581–1601). After the Union of the Iberian Crowns, the bishop deluged Philip II with memoranda proposing the joint Luso-Spanish conquest of all of Southeast Asia. Cf. C. R. Boxer, “Portuguese and Spanish Projects for the Conquest of Southeast Asia, 1580–1600,” Journal of Asian History 3 (1969): 118–36.
[34. ]The Portuguese original has been lost, along with the seventeenth-century Dutch translation. Frederick Muller, an Amsterdam bookseller, bought a copy of this translation at the Martinus Nijhoff auction of Grotius’s book manuscripts and personal papers in 1864. Muller’s handwritten transcription is in Robert Fruin’s personal papers in Leiden University Library (Ltk 1555-39) and appears as “Pars Epistolae Episcopi Malaccensis ad Regem” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:380–84. My English translation is based on that text, as corrected by comparison with Muller’s transcription. See p. 497 of the present volume.
[35. ]The capitão-mór, or governor, was the highest-ranking Portuguese official in the town of Malacca.
[36. ]The bishop’s sailing directions have recently been published as O Roteiro das Cousas do Achem de D. João Ribeiro Gaio: Um olhar português sobre o Norte de Samatra em finais do século XVI, ed. Jorge M. dos Santos Alves and Pierre-Yves Manguin (Lisbon: Comissão Nacional para as Comemoragões dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, 1997).
[37. ]Ryals of eight, also known as Spanish dollars or pieces of eight, were Spanish silver coins used for commercial transactions in both the East and West Indies. A ryal was worth approximately two and one-half Dutch guilders. The bahar was a unit of weight common throughout the Malay Archipelago, which could be subdivided into picols and kati. They had no uniform standard in the seventeenth century, but, as a rule of thumb, the bahar was subdivided into 3 picols and the picol into 100 kati. Dutch historians usually equate 1 bahar with 364 Amsterdam pounds, approximately 180 kilos, and the kati with 1.25 Amsterdam pounds, a little more than 600 grams.
[38. ]Portuguese merchantmen plied between Goa and Japan on an annual basis, the ports of call being Goa, Malacca, Macao, and Nagasaki. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Viceroy at Goa auctioned off the Japan voyages to the highest bidder, usually high-ranking officials of the Estado da India. For the privilege of sending a ship from Goa to Nagasaki, they paid a fee of twenty-two thousand Portuguese cruzados, approximately sixty thousand Dutch guilders or six thousand pounds sterling. The fee amounted to just 3.5 percent of a voyage’s actual worth, estimated at six hundred thousand Portuguese cruzados, approximately 1.5 million Dutch guilders or one hundred fifty thousand pounds sterling.
[39. ]Mahomet Kunhali Marakkar, known to Portuguese chroniclers as Cunhale Marcά, was a notorious corsair who plundered the annual Portuguese pepper shipments from the Malabar Coast to Goa in the 1580s and 1590s. When armed convoys proved insufficient to keep the corsair in check, Viceroy Francisco da Gama sent two military expeditions to the fortress of Cunhale. The first, led by Dom Luis da Gama, ended in complete failure in 1599; the second, led by André Furtado de Mendonça resulted in the corsair’s surrender and execution the following year.
[40. ]Francisco da Gama, Count Vidigueira, was Viceroy of India in 1597–1600 and 1622–28.
[41. ]The date of the collation suggests that the letter was translated into Dutch at the request of the Amsterdam VOC directors and mailed to Grotius by Jan ten Grootenhuys. It was Grootenhuys who had sent Grotius the “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies” on October 15, 1604. It consisted of fifteen notarized attestations of Dutch merchants and mariners, collected by the Amsterdam VOC directors between September 11 and October 6, 1604. Grootenhuys wrote again to Grotius on October 20, 1604, enclosing “the edict of the Estates of Holland, and the sworn statement of Mr. Apius, along with the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court.” He promised to send more materials for inclusion in De Jure Praedae “the day after tomorrow.” The letter of Dom João Ribeiro Gaio undoubtedly belonged to this third set of documents.
[42. ]Although the Portuguese original has been lost, a Dutch translation of this letter is still extant in the “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies.” W. Ph. Coolhaas includes the translation in “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,”Bijdragen en Mededelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 79 (1965): 531–32. A German translation was first published in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien (Frankfurt-am-Main: Th. de Bry, 1606), second preface, page II seqq. It appears as “Epistola Senatus Malaccensis” in Appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:385. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 383 and 497 of the present volume.
[43. ]Van Heemskerck captured the Portuguese carrack Santa Catarina on February 25, 1603. A detailed description of the seizure may be found in document IV of appendix II.
[44. ]Malacca town councillors.
[45. ]Fernão d’Albuquerque was a descendant of Alfonso d’Albuquerque, the conqueror of Goa (1510), Malacca (1511), and Ormuz (1515). Fernão d’Albuquerque served as capitão-mór (captain-major) of Malacca in 1601–3 and governor of India in 1619–22.
[46. ]Although the Portuguese original has been lost, a Dutch translation survives in the “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies.” It is printed in Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,” 532–33. A German translation, first published in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien, appears as “Epistola Praefecti Malaccensis ad Jacobum Hemskerckium” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:385–86. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 383, 431, and 497 of the present volume.
[47. ]Jacob van Neck, the commander of the Fourth Dutch Voyage to the East Indies, arrived off Macao with two ships on September 27, 1601. Van Neck was unaware of his location and put out first a sloop, then a longboat to take soundings in the harbor. The Portuguese officials at Macao, panic-stricken at the sight of the Dutch ships, lured the crew of the sloop ashore with white flags of truce. The longboat was captured the following day, when it came too close to the town. The Portuguese made twenty prisoners in total and secretly hanged seventeen of them in November 1601, contrary to the express wishes of the Chinese authorities. Marten Aap, the fleet’s legal officer, and two cabin boys were sent to Goa, where the Portuguese viceroy released them in March 1602. See pp. 279–283, 425, and 456 of the present volume.
[48. ]The German translation omits the last sentence of this paragraph.
[49. ]This document has had the same fate as the two previous ones: a Dutch translation in Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,” 533–34, and a German translation in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien. The latter translation appears as “Epistola Altera Ejusdem ad Eundem” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:386–87. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 279–83, 383, and 497 of the present volume.
[50. ]This document has had the same fate as the three previous ones: a Dutch translation in Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,” 535, and a German translation in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien. The latter translation appears as “Epistola Capitanei Captae Galeonis ad Jacobum Hemskerckium” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:387. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 383–84 and 497 of the present edition.
[1. ]The Portuguese nobleman André Furtado de Mendonça (1558–1610) served the Estado da India with great distinction. In March 1600, he captured Mahomet Kunhali Marakkar, a notorious pirate who had attacked Portuguese shipping all along India’s west coast. Out of gratitude, the Portuguese Viceroy at Goa gave him a commission as Admiral of the Fleet of the South (1601–3), charged with ousting the Dutch interlopers from the Malay Archipelago. He became Governor of Malacca in 1603 and interim viceroy of India in May 1609.
[2. ]This is an English translation of the second half of Montalegre’s letter. The Portuguese original and Dutch translation are still extant at the Dutch National Archives. Both were published by P. A. Leupen in the appendix of his article “Kaartje van de Banda-eilanden vervaardigd door Emanoel Godinho De Eredia in 1601,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië, 3rd ser., 11 (1876): 386–91.
[3. ]Jacob van Heemskerck (1567–1607) participated in two of three Dutch attempts to find the Northeast Passage and served as a vice-admiral on the second Dutch voyage to the East Indies (1598–1600), in which capacity he became the first Dutch commander to visit the Banda Islands. Returning to the Malay Archipelago in February 1602, he commanded a fleet of eight ships from the United Amsterdam Company. He first sailed along the northern coast of Java and then crossed over to the Malay Peninsula, where he called at the ports of Patani and Johore. He captured the Portuguese carrack Santa Catarina in the Strait of Singapore in February 1603, which made him famous and rich.
[4. ]The original letter is available in Dutch: De Opkomst van het Nederlandsch Gezag in Oost-Indië (1595–1610), ed. J. K. J. de Jonge (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1864), 2:515–17.
[5. ]Ryals of eight were Spanish silver coins used for commercial transactions in both the East and West Indies. The bahar was a unit of weight common throughout the Malay Archipelago. See footnote 37 in appendix I above.
[6. ]Notarized copy, dated May 24, 1605, Archives of the Estates General at the Dutch National Archives, Staten Gen. 12551.21 (Loketkas processen nr. 21), unfoliated. See p. 429 of the present volume.
[7. ]Received by the Amsterdam VOC directors on May 17, 1604, Archives of the Dutch Estates General at the Dutch National Archives, Staten Gen. 12551.21 (Loketkas Processen nr. 21), unfoliated.
[8. ]The last was a unit of weight common in the Dutch Republic, but lacked a uniform standard. The United Amsterdam Company equated one last with 3,000 Amsterdam pounds, approximately 1,482 kilos. In terms of a ship’s tonnage, one last was a little less than 2 tons.
[9. ]The “King of Johore” was ‘Ala′ud-din Ri′ayat Shah III of Johore (d. 1615). His younger brother, Raja Bongsu, was the leader of a pro-Dutch faction at the Johorese court. Both in this letter and in chapter 11, Raja Bongsu is confused with Rage Syack, alias the Prince of Siak, leader of the pro-Portuguese faction and governor of Johore’s territories on the east coast of Sumatra.
[10. ]The amount is unspecified in the original text, where the space is left blank.
[11. ]The xeraphine was a Portuguese currency minted at Goa and commonly used in the Malay Archipelago. One xeraphine was equivalent to one-half ryal of eight or approximately one and one-quarter Dutch guilders.
[12. ]See appendix I, note 27, above.
[13. ]Jan ten Grootenhuys (1573–1646) served as a liaison between Grotius and the Amsterdam directors of the VOC in the autumn of 1604. He was the younger brother of VOC director Arent ten Grootenhuys (1570–1615), as well as a merchant and VOC shareholder in his own right. He had been Grotius’s roommate in The Hague at some point between 1598 and 1602, when Grotius boarded with the Reformed minister Johannes Wtenbogaert (1557–1644). Like Grotius, Jan ten Grootenhuys was a jurist by training. He clearly shared his friend’s enthusiasm for the studia humanitatis, however.
[14. ]The original letter is printed in Latin in Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius, ed. P. C. Molhuysen, B. L. Meulenbroek, and H. J. M. Nellen, vol. 1 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1928), 44–45.
[15. ]The Amsterdam VOC directors took sworn statements from admirals, merchants, and sailors who had participated in the early Dutch voyages to the East Indies. The Amsterdam notary Jan Franszoon Bruyningh countersigned eight attestations between September 11 and October 4, 1604. Grotius received a set of notarized copies from Grootenhuys, entitled “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies.” See Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae, ” 415–540.
[16. ]Grootenhuys sent Grotius more materials five days later, including the placard of the Estates General of April 2, 1599, and the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court of September 9, 1604. Both documents are printed in appendix I.
[17. ]The original letter is printed in Latin in Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius, 1:45. The safe return home of Martin Aap (here, Mr. Apius), one of the few survivors of the Macao massacre, is heralded in both De Jure Paedae and other documents in this appendix.
[18. ]The Dutch original may be found in the Grotius Papers at the Dutch National Archives, Supplement I, fol. 374–79. It is a scribal copy with marginalia in Grotius’s hand and contains a separate sheet with his reading notes.
[19. ]Modern historians estimate the VOC’s military expenditures at ƒ420,000 (£42,000) per annum in the first two decades of its existence, which did indeed make it very difficult for the company to achieve a net surplus. Compare Hans den Haan, Moedernegotie en grote vaart: een studie over de expansie van het Hollandse handelskapitaal in de 16e en 17e eeuw (Amsterdam: SUA, 1977), 114–15, 119–20, 122.
[20. ]A federal organization supervised by the Estates General, the Admiralty Board collected taxes on booty as well as import and export duties in order to finance the Dutch navy. All this was of little use to the VOC, however, as the Dutch navy limited its operations to European waters and never seemed particularly enthusiastic about lending the company its warships and cannons.
[21. ]As Lord High Admiral, Maurice of Nassau was entitled to a thirtieth share of the booty captured by the VOC.
[22. ]A humanist flourish typical for Grotius: the Roman emperor Augustus had established a pension fund for his discharged soldiers in 6 called aerarium militare.
[23. ]Grotius was introduced to George Michael Lingelsheim in late May 1603, when the latter visited The Hague as an envoy of the Elector Palatine. Grotius corresponded with the Heidelberg town councilor for the remainder of his life.
[24. ]There are only a few sentences that deal with De Jure Praedae in Grotius’s letter to Lingelsheim. The entire letter, written in Latin, is printed in Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius, 1:72.
[25. ]Grotius Papers at the Dutch National Archives, Supplement I, fol. 344–66. Draft letters in Grotius’s hand, addressed to various Asian rulers, including the “Queen” of Patani, the Samorin of Malabar, the “Seigneuries” of Banda and Ambon, and the “Kings” of Johore, Siau, Bantam, Ternate, and Tidore. The letter to the Sultan of Tidore covers folios 365–66.
[26. ]Note on the Translation: The deletions and insertions found in Grotius’s draft letter are included in this translation. They are separated from the main text by square brackets. Italic type stands for deleted text, roman type for inserted text.
[27. ]A Dutch navy squadron under the command of Willem de Soete had blockaded Lisbon in April and May 1606, preventing the departure of the annual fleet of the Carreira da India. At the request of the Estates General, the VOC directors had subsidized this expedition to the tune of 125,000 guilders. The directors again put 125,000 guilders at the disposal of the Dutch navy in the spring of 1607, in the expectation that a naval blockade of Lisbon would do great damage to its Portuguese rival.
[28. ]The English East India Company was the VOC’s biggest competitor in the northern European spice markets. Sir Henry Middleton, the commander of its second voyage, had reached the Moluccas in late March 1605. At his arrival, he sought and was denied permission to trade there by the sultans of Ternate and Tidore, who were under heavy pressure from the Dutch commander Cornelis Bastiaanszoon. After the latter’s victory over the Portuguese at Tidore, the VOC obtained the right of preemption in Ternate and Tidore, along with their subject territories. The sultans agreed to reserve the entire clove harvest for the VOC out of gratitude for their “liberation” from the Portuguese and in repayment of the military expenses that the VOC had incurred on their behalf.
[29. ] The Dutch original may be found in Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius, 1: 128–29.
[30. ]The negotiations that resulted in the Twelve Years’ Truce between Spain and the Netherlands (1609–21).
[31. ]Johan Boreel was the eldest son of Zeeland VOC director Jacob Boreel and a close friend of Grotius. He was one of the few people to whom Grotius showed all or part of the manuscript of De Jure Praedae. A newly discovered letter of Johan Boreel reveals that it was at his instigation that the Zeeland VOC directors requested the publication of Mare Liberum. His letter of November 6, 1608, explicitly mentions the directors’ commissioning of Mare Liberum —“the VOC wrote to you on the subject familiar to you”—and his own efforts to bring this about—“I exhorted these tardy men to attend to their own affairs, and wrote letters as well.” Compare Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius, vol. 17 (2001), 41–42.
[32. ]The special envoys of Henry IV of France and James I of England.
[33. ]The United Dutch East India Company consisted of several “chambers,” the remnants of the Holland and Zeeland trading companies that preceded the VOC.